Two turntables and a pen and a piece of paper
January 5, 2007 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Most interesting poetry which makes use found or appropriated language?

Who are the best or most interesting poets who make use of "found" or "appropriated" language? Anything counts, from movie quotes to chatter overheard in the mall to Chinese ideograms (looking at you, Ezra). I already know Pound, Eliot, blee blah. I love Rae Armantrout's work like crazy, and her subtle use of appropriation. I'm going to comb Ubuweb. Ted Berrigan's _The Sonnets_ is a favorite, and maybe has the qualities of what I'm looking for: vital, purposeful and optimistic. Who haven't I heard of? Oddball and regularball suggestions welcome. Double points for links to specific books. Double and a half points if the work's online.
posted by sleevener to Writing & Language (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Jackson MacLowe did some of this I think, can't point to specific work though.

Also: Marvin Gardens
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:26 PM on January 5, 2007

the humument should probably be noted sooner or later. I've never actually slogged through it, but it's nice to look at.
posted by stresstwig at 5:43 PM on January 5, 2007

two kinds of poetry that might fit the bill are "flarf" and "spoetry"

see the wikipedia entries for each

the aspect of flarf that's appropriative is--among other things--its use of google search to generate text

spoetry uses spam
posted by subatomiczoo at 5:46 PM on January 5, 2007

stephen ratcliffe's work is full of overheard language.
posted by apostrophe at 7:40 PM on January 5, 2007

fuck sorry about that crap link: Marvin Gardens
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:51 PM on January 5, 2007

That humument is giving me 404s on all the individual pages.
posted by dobbs at 8:20 PM on January 5, 2007

John Giorno's Eating the Sky has some song lyrics and ad lines in it but not tons. It's on ubuweb and is my favorite spoken word piece by anyone.
posted by dobbs at 8:22 PM on January 5, 2007

Joan Retallack.

Particularly "How To Do Things With Words."
posted by mammary16 at 8:31 PM on January 5, 2007

For a particulalry extreme example of appriopriated language, take a look at "Chatty Cathy Villanelle" by David Trinadad.

posted by mostlymartha at 9:21 PM on January 5, 2007

From my dim memory of it, Evan S Connell's "Notes From A Bottle Found On The Beach At Carmel" would fit the bill.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:02 PM on January 5, 2007

Hmm, so you're right dobbs. Go here instead.
posted by stresstwig at 10:32 PM on January 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

You're probably already familiar with David Antin's work, but have you read his early stuff? If not, do yourself a favor and pick up Selected Poems: 1963-1973. Code of Flag Behavior and Novel Poem are two volumes that use found text in some very interesting, humorous, vital ways. The entire book is a happy thing to have on your shelf.

I'm also in love with Berrigan, especially The Sonnets.

A contemporary poet who's doing a lot of cool stuff with found text is Daphne Gottlieb. Check out her Final Girl. About half of the poems in that book employ found text, in some form or other. It indicts texts by collaging them with each other. Very good stuff.

Kenneth Goldsmith, about whom I posted on the blue a few days ago, takes found text to its ridiculous tipping point. Source materials include weather reports, the dictionary, and, most notoriously, his own speech over the course of a day.

Other contemporary people appropriating texts in some way or other:
Jen Bervin
Shanxing Wang
kari edwards (.)
Ron Silliman
Bruce Andrews
Michael Magee
posted by roll truck roll at 11:46 PM on January 5, 2007

By the way, thanks for this, stresstwig. I'd never seen this before. It's amazing.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:47 PM on January 5, 2007

Great, thanks everyone! Very helpful all around. Joseph Gurl, do you (or does anyone else) have additional information about Marvin Gardens?

man I've got a lot of reading to do
posted by sleevener at 9:26 AM on January 6, 2007

Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony consists of short sections extracted from courtroom witness statements and arranged as poetry; it's amazingly effective and moving. Discussions: Edmund Hardy, Grass Anti-Epic: Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony; Benjamin Watson, Reznikoff’s Testimony; more here (self-link).
posted by languagehat at 12:49 PM on January 6, 2007

« Older Good Jazz bar in Chicago to hit on wife?   |   How do I deal with Indeo Video 5 on OS X? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.