Special America: Claire Donato & Jeff T. Johnson at PEN America

 

This week the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America, features a selection from a kickass dramedic poem by Special America (Jeff T. Johnson & TS Press author Claire Donato (Burial, 2013)):

Here’s a splash:

VI. A Fucking Boring Interlude: The Bo Po Manifesto

(Music: “Woman” by Dirty Beaches.)

(The upcoming section is read by two text-to-speech voices, which intermingle throughout this scene. The first is ALEX. The second is VICTORIA, an Australian iOS voice named after one of ALEX’s counterparts.)

Jake Kennedy says poetry is fucking boring. Kenneth Goldsmith says poetry should be more boring. Vanessa Place says poetry is dead, I killed it. Billy Collins finds difficult poetry gratuitous. Rimbaud says poetry is shit. Tan Lin says the most boring part of a poetry reading is the poet reading. William Carlos Williams says no ideas but in plums. Gertrude Stein says a rose is a rose etc. Rilke says you must change your life. Emily Dickinson is a loaded gun. Mina Loy says love the hideous. Shane McCrae says language has blood on its hands. Dorothea Lasky says poetry is not a project. Thom Donovan says poetry is a hole. Maria Damon says the voice of the poet is a flotation device suspended above the larger poem of anonymity. Ross Gay says we are not our poems. Bob Dylan says Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot fighting in the captain’s tower. Rosmarie Waldrop says language thinks for us. Lou Reed says hey man what’s your style? Robert Creeley says form is content is form. Erín Moure says sound is sense. Amiri Baraka says poetry is music, nothing but music. John Ashbery says the system was breaking down. Robert Hass says blackberry thrice. Allen Ginsberg says candor ends paranoia. Caroline Bergvall says ambient fish fuck flowers bloom in your mouth. Lyn Hejinian says the obvious analogy is with music. Leslie Scalapino says I am outside this though. Laynie Browne says Stacy Doris says Michael Palmer says “Now all funny poets will be serious and serious poets will be funny.” Wallace Stevens says money is poetry. Amy King is counting poets. Chelsey Minnis says poetry is looking through a knothole into a velvet fuckpad. Marianne Moore says I, too, dislike it. Special America says poetry is Special America.

(As ALEX and VICTORIA read, JEFF and CLAIRE slow dance while peering over one another’s shoulders at their iPads and recite entries chosen from the following list. Sometimes actors alternate their speech; other times, their voices overlap.)

Line breaks are fucking boring.

Appropriation is totally fucking boring.

The National Book Award is fucking boring.

Rhyme schemes are fucking boring.

Slant rhyme is fucking boring.

Prose poetry is fucking boring.

Hybridity is fucking boring.

Scansion is fucking boring.

Duende is fucking boring.

Alliteration is fucking boring.

Imagery is fucking boring.

Narrative poetry is fucking boring.

Language poetry is fucking boring.

Conceptual poetry is fucking boring.

Sound poetry is fucking boring.

Ecopoetics is fucking boring.

Nature poetry is fucking boring.

Canadian poetry is fucking boring.

The Cambridge School is fucking boring.

Political poetry is fucking boring.

Feminist poetry is fucking boring.

Queer poetry is fucking boring.

Visual poetry is fucking boring.

Electronic poetry is fucking boring.

Code poetry is fucking boring.

Translation is fucking boring.

Performance poetry is fucking boring.

Slam poetry is fucking boring.

Lyric is fucking boring.

Innovative poetry is fucking boring….

Read the rest at PEN.