Nobody's Business: Twenty-First Century Avant-Garde Poetics (Hardback)Brian M. Reed (author)
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Since the turn of the new millennium English-language verse has entered a new historical phase, but explanations vary as to what has actually happened and why. What might constitute a viable avant-garde poetics in the aftermath of such momentous developments as 9/11, globalization, and the financial crisis? Much of this discussion has taken place in ephemeral venues such as blogs, e-zines, public lectures, and conferences. Nobody's Business is the first book to treat the emergence of Flarf and Conceptual Poetry in a serious way. In his engaging account, Brian M. Reed argues that these movements must be understood in relation to the proliferation of digital communications technologies and their integration into the corporate workplace.
Writers such as Andrea Brady, Craig Dworkin, Kenneth Goldsmith, Danny Snelson, and Rachel Zolf specifically target for criticism the institutions, skill sets, and values that make possible the smooth functioning of a postindustrial, globalized economy. Authorship comes in for particular scrutiny: how does writing a poem differ in any meaningful way from other forms of "content providing"? While often adept at using new technologies, these writers nonetheless choose to explore anachronism, ineptitude, and error as aesthetic and political strategies. The results can appear derivative, tedious, or vulgar; they can also be stirring, compelling, and even sublime. As Reed sees it, this new generation of writers is carrying on the Duchampian practice of generating antiart that both challenges prevalent definitions or art and calls into question the legitimacy of the institutions that define it.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 248
Weight: 510 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 17 mm
"In this radical, engaging critical study, Reed extends the work he did in Phenomenal Reading (2012) by discussing poets widely recognized as formal and linguistic innovators. Innovation and the interface of art and technology, along with sociology and politics, are his subjects. . . . He writes of 'better appreciat[ing] the sophistication, idiosyncrasy, and value of these oddball contemporary American efforts to find viable poetic strategies for dissent, critique, and utopian dreaming.' Despite what some readers regard as the willy-nilly hodge-podge that is today's poetry, this is a book not of dreaming but of focused attention on what is new."-Choice (1 February 2014)
"[Brian Reed] is a useful, intelligent,and well-read omnivore, able to offer not only incisive and theoretically personable insights but also witty and dynamic writing. Reed is one of the bestmidcareer critics writing about contemporary poetry in a poetics context; hemakes a person extremely eager to follow his work, now and in the future. Thisbook seems to be one cut of a developing careerlong argument, one calf of ahearty glacier."-Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Modern Language Quarterly (March 2015)
"Nobody's Business will provoke real interest as it follows avant-garde poetry into its most recent manifestations. Brian M. Reed has the information on the latest debates concerning Flarf, conceptual poetics, and the unfolding interfaces between poetry and digital techniques."-Bob Perelman, University of Pennsylvania, author of The Marginalization of Poetry: Language Writing and Literary History
"The title of Nobody's Business refers to the nose-thumbing qualities of all avant-garde practices and situates these gestures in a context of global economic crisis. Brian M. Reed addresses a range of important new developments that have emerged after language writing, notably the advent of conceptualism, digital poetry, and Flarf. Reed knows the poetics of these movements extremely well, and his prose is a delight to read."-Michael Davidson, UC San Diego, author of On the Outskirts of Form: Practicing Cultural Poetics
"Do we have avant-garde poetry, now, in our century? How can we read it? Can we simply read it, or do we need to listen to it, or to see it? How does it differ from the groundbreaking, frame-breaking art and poetry of the past? Can it alter its readers' all too rational, productivity-driven, Internet-enabled, sped-up lives, or does it simply reflect those lives? And can it do anything else? Brian M. Reed's critical writings make him an ideal guide and answerer for all these questions, and (even better) a perfect, and perfectly clear, explainer for the challenging poetry-or post-poetry, or even anti-poetry-that he recommends. Far from content to dissect a zeitgeist (though he does that, too) or to respond to existing tastes, Reed goes on to advocate the challenge in the performed and printed poetry of a transatlantic, transmedia generation, connecting Gertrude Stein to Donna Summer, remix culture to radical political critique, in such not-quite-yet-famous poets and performers as Danny Snelson and Rachel Zolf (he's also got much to say about those often-studied, semi-quasi-antithesis, Conceptual Poetics and Flarf). Reed's critical prose is pellucid, his arguments memorable, and his volume an introduction for writers and creators who could surely use one. This is a book that will stand up with time."-Stephen Burt, Harvard University, author of Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry
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