Monday, January 5, 2009

Flarf is out, Captcha poetry is in!

Heather Moore, who lives in Cape Town, South Africa, is compiling what she calls security poetry from those words that pop up when you leave a comment on Blogger; here are a few examples:

Norinic Klege
Misms, bionobte.
Poogisp percut stind ismst,


Bitur, magulthr flati
Gedgerl (foitidi)
(Tieratt) recodm.


Chedge criestme orstsper!
Foref, myrac, munmanc,
Hanim equin padwo?
Corses aingee...

Shades of Merz!

I'm so fond of Captcha and reCaptcha (pictured up top, and not quite the same thing) that I feel a genuine frisson of disquiet whenever it turns up. Oh, reverse Turing test... oh, poetry!

More Captcha poetry, by Angela Genusa, can be experienced here.

If you need additional automated assistance with your writing, give the Proppian Fairy Tale Generator a spin.

And check out Tumbarumba - "a frolic of intrusions—a conceptual artwork in the form of a Firefox extension. Tumbarumba hides stories—twelve new stories by outstanding authors—where you least expect to find them, turning your everyday web browsing into a strange journey."

Sounds futuristic, wow! Well, get this: Cracked magazine foretold what 2009 would be like - way back in 1970. Better than end-of-year lists!

While we're on the subject of what's out and what's in, check out this list from Bullets of Love.


Lemon Hound said...


Anonymous said...

This comment has nothing to do with the subject of Don Share's post today, but something amazing has just happened to me, and I have to tell about it. And since Don S. is one of the true bibliophiles of the poetry world, this seems like the appropriate place. Maybe this won't seem such an amazing thing as it does to me, but it is pretty special, all will have to admit, and I'm still trembling a little bit over it...

Well, OK, about one two hours ago I was on the third floor of our town's antique mall here, poking around in shelves and shelves of old books, a large collection of things left by a deceased dealer, and so everything is going at "3 for $5." Some great stuff, including a smattering of 19th century things with lithographs inside, fold-out maps, stuff like that, a first edition of Understanding Poetry in fine condition, etc. I was looking around to find stuff for my son Brooks, who is a really good, budding collagist. And I found some great things...

Anyway, as I am leaving, happy with my take, my eyes fall on a book lying face-up on a shelf, the white paper covers detached, but there. It is Les Gazettes D'Adrienne Monnier, 1925-1945, published by Rene Julliard, Paris. So I open the book and there is a folded letter inside. The sheet is approx. 4 X 6 in., is my guess. Both sides are filled with handwriting, a clearly legible script, paper in perfect condition.

It is a letter to a Mrs. Hannah, at Reid Hall, 4 rue de Cheireuse, Paris. VI. In it, the writer responds to the addressee's query about Proust, and mentions that she, along with Mademoiselle Monnier is ["... alas!, almost totally ignorant of Proust," but that she will gladly put her in touch with Maurice Bardou [sp?], at Gallimard, who will certainly be able to assist her with her research. The letter goes on in a very lovely way about when a visit from Mrs Hannah to the writer's apartment might be made, and so on. The letter is signed "Yours Sincerely, Sylvia Beach. Her name and address are printed in blue official stationary type at the top: SYLVIA BEACH, 12, Rue De L'Odeon, Paris, VI. The date is January 4th, 1954.

I found this in Freeport, Illinois, a town that is about as far away from the Lost Generation as one may imagine. I feel as thrilled as I did the day I stepped over a log in some timber in Lena, Illinois, and saw before me about thirty lbs. pounds of huge yellow morels, just sitting there, in all directions.

Isn't this amazing?


Don Share said...

The coincidence of your mentioning Understanding Poetry and that your son's name is Brooks caught my biblio-eye: was he named after Cleanth, perchance?

You mean 4 rue de Chevreuse, eh? Hm, Mrs. Hannah wouldn't be Hannah Arendt, fooey.

12 rue de l'Odeon is where Sylvia Beach hid her books during WWII (she was forced to close Shakespeare & Co. in 1941; Hemingway "liberated" it in '44!).


Anonymous said...

>You mean 4 rue de Chevreuse, eh? Hm, Mrs. Hannah wouldn't be Hannah Arendt, fooey.

Yes, that's it, I read it wrong.

Don, the printed address on the letter, upper right, is, yes, 12, Rue de L'Odeon.

And IS there any chance she would address Arendt as "Mrs Hannah"? Probably not. What's this Reid Hall? Ring any bell?

I knew this is where I should send this.

I will photograph the letter and put it in a file, if you like.


Don Share said...

Isn't Reid Hall where Columbia Univ. sends its students for their Paris fling?

michael robbins said...

Jesus, Kent, you are the only person to whom things actually happen that are crazier than the things you make up.

Anonymous said...

That would make sense.

The surprising thing to me is Beach's comment about being totally ignorant of Proust...

I'll get this photographed and you can put it on your blog, if you like, Don.


Anonymous said...

And I *just now* noticed the reference to the "Proppian Fairy Tale Generator."

And this is no fairy tale, as everyone will be able to see when I mail the photo file to Don Share.


Angela Genusa said...

I created this visual poem called The Captcha Project last year.

There are other poets who have been doing Captcha poetry for some time.

Nicholas Manning said...

Yes it is Don. It's actually billed as Columbia's "Campus" in Paris. I've been there once or twice. Amazing stuff Kent.

brian a j salchert said...

I'm not familiar with "Captcha"
but I've been noticing that the
word verifs have been edging closer
to being real words, have real words
within them, and--though it hasn't
happened to me--have been real English words, all of which makes
one feel that Google's robots are
trying to learn the language and/or
are "purposely" messing with the
language, and which--I think--is why the incidence of comments closing with their w v words is on
the rise. The last such I had was:
begosms. It could be used as a new
word: Begosms, man, you sure tell wild stories.

Anonymous said...

Who needs Flarf if you have Google?