New Poetry Mag

art / poetry

Please submit to Angry Old Man, a brand new rag.  AOM accepts visual and concrete poetry, art, collage, asemic writing, blackout poetry, conceptual writing, flarf, found poetry, spam lit, flash fiction, etc.

Angry Old Man Magazine is dedicated to experimental writing, poetry and art. AOM wishes to publish work that is risky and follows no prescribed dogma/style/schema/school. 

Closing date for submissions is August 31, 2017.


AOM Editor

Why Poetic/Artistic Schools of Thought are Limiting

art / writing

In my previous post, I explained what I believe is a way to bring two schools of poetry together.  Why it should matter, I have no idea. Honestly, I don’t care. I mean, yes, I am amused by how both sides take it so seriously–but, in the end, it’s all a bunch of palaver and bull-hockey,

People try to direct a trend or tendency into a movement or school of thought in order to attach importance to it, and a lucrative career, but that’s bullshit too.  Unfortunately, the edifice erected by the Conceptual Poets and School of Feeling may crumble and turn to dust at any time.  Art is ephemeral. These artificial schools of thought mean absolutely nothing in the end. In fact, they are counterproductive. They don’t represent what people are really doing in the real world.

I guess, for me, when you try to do anything artistic, it’s not about logic/reason. Kenneth Goldsmith believes it is–that you can plot a scientific course (remember Marx & Engels?), with a predictable schema in hand, and arrive logically at “Art.”  It never happens that way, IMHO. You are surely influenced by particular modes and sensibilities, but the making of art is a completely arbitrary exercise. No one knows what they are doing, and if they did, nothing of importance would ever be created.

And that’s why it’s limiting and counterproductive to fall for the lie of the “dueling poetic schools.” It’s, again, good for careers, and an ego boost for well compensated rhetoricians in the Ivory Tower, but for burnouts like me, it leaves me cold–and bored. I’m sure Dick Higgins would approve.



A Hybrid Poetics

poetry / vispo

Sectarianism is notoriously lethal in politics, especially on the Left. And by the Left, I don’t mean the right wing Democratic Party we have in the United States, but the marginalized socialist Left that every good, god-fearing American loathes. Anyway, that’s fodder for another post. My point is that this same self-defeating dynamic, on occasion, plays out in literature.  To wit: over the last few years or so, I’ve been following with increasing interest the Great Poetic Schism, pitting the proponents of traditional lyricism/feeling against the hyper-intellectualized praxis of the Conceptualists.

Truth be told, I’m not qualified to speak on the matter, and I have absolutely no skin in the game. I’m not part of an elite academic salon, and I don’t have an MFA. I’m just a middle-aged suburban burnout with a shitload of credit card debt and a depreciating 401K. A dabbler, if you will.  But I do have a solution to this fascinating imbroglio, and it has developed out of my own experiments.

I advocate a new, hybrid form, blending lyricism/feeling with Conceptualism.  You won’t understand how this works, unless I show you an example from my own work:

Example of Hybrid Form

This is a a cut-up technique (advocated by the Conceptualists) with lyrical flourishes here and there (advocated by the traditionalists). The cut-ups are from disparate places. There is also some vispo (visual poetry) in there, to break up the monotony.



Thoughts on Kenneth Goldsmith

poetry / writing

KG in pepto suit.

KG is an interesting figure.  The Web is full of pro/con on this guy, and I’m not sure what to make of his influence. My sense is he likes being thought of as a charlatan by the “poetry community” (whatever that is).  I’m okay with literary charlatans–because all creative people are essentially confidence men/women. There’s nothing really world-saving and/or intrinsically moral about Art.  Nihilists are very good artists.  In fact, a good majority of artists are nihilists.

It’s all about showmanship–what I can convince you of through artifice & slight of hand. I get KG is trying to convince us he’s being uncreative by producing unreadable books. He’s all concept, all brain. No feeling. There’s not a lyrical bone in his body, he avers. I’ll admit I learned of conceptual writing through KG.  That’s not so bad. In fact, I don’t think he cares if we have ambivalent feelings toward him. He radiates ambivalence, after all.

That pose he champions (the ironic hipster fucking up the certainties/verities of the stuffed shirts) doesn’t play well with serious people at all.  KG takes nothing seriously, hence his wily embrace of any and all criticism.  If you want to be entertained, Google some of the articles/commentary/blogging about KG and his uncreative stunts.  But, you see, that’s the point. He wants to piss you off, and you fell for it.  And now, who looks like a stuffed shirt? That, in a nutshell, is why KG exists, and why people like him will flourish in any age.