In a word, “blarf!”


New York Times article yesterday on “flarf”: “A novel form of digitally-inspired poetry, often generated from the results of the Internet search engines.”

Here’s the description in the Wall Street Journal:

Oooh yeah baby gonna shake & bake then take

AWWWWWL your monee, honee (tee hee)

If those lines sound like utter nonsense, it’s because they are. They belong to the world’s first “flarf” poem. Penned a decade ago as a lark, it has spurred an experimental poetry movement that’s become surprisingly popular.

Marjorie Perloff

While it started as one poet’s attempt to write the worst possible poem he could manage, flarf has since been published in that preeminent arbiter of tastes, Poetry. Fifteen flarf books have been published, and a 400-page anthology is due out soon.

One lit critic appears to be taking it seriously:

“Flarf is a hip, digital reaction to the kind of boring, genteel poetry” popular with everyday readers, says Marjorie Perloff, a poetry critic and professor emeritus of English at Stanford University. “You used to find it only in alternative spaces, but it has now moved into the art mainstream.”

I didn’t know that any kind of poetry nowadays is “popular with everyday readers,” so I guess that’s good news.  But so far I have to agree with the sole comment on the New York Times blog, from Laura in Santa Barbara:  “Blarf!”


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