FIRST MANIFESTO OF WONDER
R u s000 b00red with poetry?
Does it feel like u just check the same poetry sites/twitterfeeds/journals over and over again, finding nothing and more nothing?
When u click on something, do u feel more ‘link baited’ than ‘interested’?
Have u lost ur connection with poets that you once felt passionate about?
Is the thrill of finding new work ‘gone’?
Is it ‘just time’ 2 close the book and start something new? How do we even go about doing that?
Is this just ‘part of growing up’ and ‘losing interest’ in something that once felt meaningful 2 u?
Or are we stuck in a broken system that will only perpetuate the evil buzz of the Corrupt Poetry Machine [via MFA programs]?
Is the poetry news cycle more ‘predictable’ and ‘boring’ than ever?
Have we reached a ‘status quo’/standard operating procedure for the buzz game that we once loved creating and deconstructing?
Is the Poetry Buzz machine totally broken and unrepairable?
Did Paul Legault ruin it all?
We are bored with poetry. Maybe every1 kinda feels this way, or we’re just losing interest in ‘art culture’, particularly the Genre Formerly Known As Poetry. We just don’t buy the buzz any more. Maybe we’re too close, we’ve seen how the buzz is made. We’ve seen the faces behind the Corrupt Poetry Machine in VIP areas across the world and while there are still some pure souls, it is a broken, unfixable machine that should be put to death. Maybe We’re just growing up, or just trying to escape the overwhelming feeling that the people who still ‘100% buy the buzz’ are laggard ass posers, stagnant cool dads and post-tweens who have some sort of Supermachine malfunctioning/contrived nostalgia for the years 2k2-2k11. Like those young people who are just ‘trying to act like grownups’ because they didn’t have any friends as kids, or something.
Maybe we feel guilty because we are part of the problem and cannot be a part of the solution.
Maybe it is time for poetry ass losers to just go and die, reading the same overhyped poet from ‘the prime years of avant-garde poetry’ until we all die. We’ll just keep buying ________ (tenured poet’s) books until we’re dead, growing old alongside our favorite writer that connect us to the cognitive prime of our youth even though their poems already sounds old and dated.
While that’s probably true, we don’t think it’s time yet, and we deserve one last phase of innovation before we are officially irrelevant and metaphorically wearing diapers because we shit ourselves and no longer deserve 2 be alive. Sometimes we’ll think about why we no longer enjoy poetry readings, and we’ll think, “That’s for the tweens and teens.” But we feel like we’re shorting ourselves of a meaningful experience because of commitment and intimacy issues.
We have always taken an internet-centric point of view when it comes to writing, meaning that poetry = internet poetry. An internet enabled genre that scaled alongside poetry websites in order to create a day to day experience with readers. Eventually, ‘mainstream’ websites began to cover our poetry as well, and now it is all just a pretty standard newscycle. It has been that way for a few years, not a ‘new’ or ‘innovative take.’ But what makes the poetrysphere different is that we are ‘curating/enabling/facilitating art’ so there is a direct relationship between the media and the art. It’s not like sports where the media doesn’t impact the outcome of the results [via decided on the field according 2 rules].
Here we are in the content farm era [via MFA programs] where Brown, the New School, NYU, Bard, Brooklyn College, UC Berkeley, Columbia, etc [other random ass programs/dumb low-residency/’emerging’ program] all generally generate the same poets writing the same poems. It’s just a matter of creating brand loyalty via aesthetics and the perception of premium content to lemming ass internet users.
Maybe just make something that people can share on Facebook to controversially discuss amongst their friends.
The demand for ‘innovative’ content has formed a buzz bubble. Conceptualwave and sponsored-content-wave poets were the main beneficiary of this bubble (post2k.5-2k11), but now, so many poets are getting a taste of alleged buzz ‘before they are ready’/before it even means anything in a legitimate context. The buzz machine is broken because there is no trusted, fail proof mechanism to create pure buzz.
Take for instance, Supermachine, the initial ‘next Fence’ of the past few years. One well intentioned weirdo Virginia kid who made decent enough books that ‘read the way they are supposed to read.’ New York, having a coke with you, girl saying random ass things that make no sense. It was covered by every ‘major outlet’ because it ‘sounded and looked the way poetry is supposed to sound and look in 2k11’ in order to ensure that it was adequately covered, attended, and sold well. It looks/feels/sounds like some sort of parody of what ‘poetry’ has become [via New York School].
Not to belittle the artistic intentions of Supermachine like we do with so many established acts, but it’s just hard for us to really connect with what it was, and not see it as having been trapped inside the lifeless charade that poetry buzz has become. They assembled a team of people around them who know how to play the game. That’s just boring to us. The problem wasn’t even really with them, just the way that we have come to digest them, just like the previous 100 journals/publishers that we were trained to love. If anything, the Corrupt Poetry Machine has forced us to digest the same meal over and over again for too long. Corrupt Content Farms are so quick to milk the life out of anything new that there are only 2 options for a ‘RISING’ poet’s career: Formulaic Rise 2 Poetry Coverage or Immediately Fading Back into the Fringes of the Buzzlands.
Which existence is more authentic? Getting a job at Enterprise RentACar and hating ur life.
Additionally, failed memes like ‘Ben Fama’ and ‘Andrew Durbin’ are just like ‘Get the fuck outta here.’ Farms are so eager to ‘break down the meme’ that ‘Ben Fama’ and ‘Andrew Durbin’ didn’t even really get to happen because we already saw it with Frank O’Hara, except it didn’t feel like they got the corrupt buzz machine pieces behind them to generate content at a rate to ‘keep people interested’.
Content-farm-core poets like Ben Fama and Andrew Durbin are a toxic byproduct of this era.
They are interesting to watch, cover, ‘think piece’ about, and gawk at, but at the end of the day, they resonate more for being an active internet participant than they do for the alleged ‘art/commerce’ that they are promoting.
“Whatever happened to the spirit of the avant-garde?” [via being untraditional/breaking rules]. The rules of poetry/content-farm-core are s0000 b0ring. Ughhh. We’re so00oo00o bored even writing about it. We’re so ashamed. We need some new faces from new places who aren’t just trying to play this dumb game that we’re s00oo0o bored of. UGhhh this is totally just more NOISE in ur feed. Who cares. Why even try 2 breakthru the noise on the internet? Just become a part of the noise. Tweet another dumb tweet and pray for retweets.
We are fighting against the ‘real world’ [via the harsh realities of the internet] squashing us and our formative aesthetic ideals. The spirit of the avant-garde taught us that bedroom poets could make something of themselves, creating a fruitful buzz career from a series of creative nights. We rooted for them, we enjoyed covering them. But now our buzz harvest has gone bad, and now is the Winter of Our Buzz Content.
If content farms have ruined the purity of internet content with listicles, contrived Silliman’s Blog-inspired HTMLGiant-wave think pieces, and other lame ass content that is still lucrative and successful, then it is clear that content farms have ruined poets. It diminishes the fan connection to an artist, and artists are also given a false sense of ‘accomplishment’ for being the 99th post out of 100 on HTMLGiant. No1 cares about ur manuscript bro. U just look and sound the way ‘new poetry’ is supposed to sound.
We’re not sure if we have unreasonable expectations. There just has to be a new way that poets can ‘become poets’ other than ‘getting on the same set of websites that will issue predictable opinions on them.’ Or maybe a publisher can offer a new way of presenting poetry without standardized commentary. Those appeal to the people who ‘just want the poetry’ without needing to know the context.
As for ‘blogs,’ there isn’t really any incentive to ‘curate’ a legitimately authentic flow of content any more. Once again, not a new point, but just another part of the broken poetry machine. Due to the symbiotic relationship between the media and the artists, we can never have buzz the way it once was. It’s just the same old song & dance over and over again. s00oo0oo0o bored.
The poetry cycle has just become this stupid ‘ceremonial process’ where every1 is supposed to knight a poet and say, “Sigh… She’s come so far. She’s really grown into her own. She is older and wiser now.” That was cool to do in 2k9 [via the maturation of web-oriented writing], but I guess there isn’t really anything that interesting about these poets any more, other than ‘they are experimental poets that make experimental poetry.’ Not every poet deserves a pseudo-cover story or ‘think piece’ where we ‘try to figure them out.’ Due to the demand for pseudo-premium ‘long form’ content, some bands have been elevated beyond ‘nice sounding band that I listen to a few times a week but don’t need to know anything about.’
The content farm basically kills the singular voice of any one writer. We can’t really think of many writers who are known by ‘the common poet fan’ as an important/singular poet in our culture/scene. Sure, the ‘talent’ is theoretically there (not really, we’re just being nice [via hypotheticals]), but it is all squashed by the output of the content farm, flushed down the page and into the toilet that is the internet. We’re not even sure what to think about the insane group of ‘young writers’ who legitimately want to ‘cover new writing/the poetry scene.’ We feel like there aren’t people who are interested in ‘trailblazing their own vibe with their own agenda’, they only want to become one of those people responsible for 7 posts per day for an established content farm. Poets can then tweet endorsements about how amazing their blurbs and ‘think pieces’ are, in order to create an illusion of actually doing something that matters even though we are all trapped in the Broken Poetry Machine.
Theoretically this is ‘kewl’ for paid writers and Poetry with some of Coca Cola’s billion dollar advertising budget, but who cares. It’s for fucking Vitamin Water. It’s not cool. So lame. Part of us wonders if the poetry/art blogosphere was just some sort of ‘ultimate online art’ beta test, where we just worked to create innovative ways to facilitate ‘art’ experiences.
We’ve allegedly learned that ‘even successful poets no longer get paid’, so it makes us feel that any post-2k8.5 buzzpoet’s only hope is to ‘completely sell out their work’ [via John Ashbery], or just do some solid cash grabs in ‘art’ opportunities. Give it a good 2-5 year run, then start a new life.
It is hard for us to ‘get legitimately excited’ about new poets because they aren’t really allowed to play by their own rules. They have to play by the rules of the large content farms, as dictated by a publisher who will ‘get them on’ a series of websites that allegedly craft their identity. Sure, some poets publish hard, winning over fans, and that will always probably be more important than ‘the internet.’ But the blogosphere used to be a place that could help artists, now it just boringly boxes them up in a content-farmmy way that might be more detrimental than the ‘old, boring magazines’ that we used to complain about.
From this point forward, referring to yourself as ‘being’ or ‘sounding like’ Language-writing or Conceptualism will mean that you have a ba$ic ass career, stuck in the past, trying to replicate the sounds and buzz practices of yesterday. Poetry exists, but no one should want to join that club any more. We don’t know what is next, and we don’t know if the internet media will perpetuate ‘poetry’ until the internet dies.
When we first started writing, we used to be excited to contribute to an ongoing discussion about art, artists, writing, ‘the new poetry scene’ [via Brooklyn], and any sort of forward progress when it came to ‘the little genre that could.’ Sure, ‘poetry’ as we once loved it has been dead for a while, but we can’t help but wonder if things are going to change, who is interested in bringing about change, and if there is anything to culturally look forward to any more. We used to feel like we were sharing a real part of ourselves when it came to the excitement and curation of independent artists, but now we are basically just bored, resentful, bored, and disconnected.
Can a poet be considered ‘authentic’ any more when they are just processed by the Broken Poetry Machine?
Who are the Next Wave of “Authentic” Poets?
The next wave of relevant poet to be excited about won’t play the game by the outdated poetry content farm rules.
The next wave of relevant poetry to be excited about will rediscover 100% authentic buzz.
The next wave of relevant poet to be excited about _____________________________.
The next wave of poets to be excited about will be corrupted by the Broken Poetry Machine.
Can we find a new corner of the internet to find writing from? Is there an untapped buzz oasis in the middle of our buzz desert [via drought]? Or will the Corrupt Poetry Machine suck the buzz watering hole dry, bottling the water, and marketing it to relevant demographics by way of sponsored opportunities?
Maybe the poetry experiment only existed to create Wonder, the ultimate internet content producer who makes content directly aimed at internet viewers. We are the best example of ‘not being poets/a press’, but instead a ‘playing by the rules’ content generation machine that resonates with humans wasting time on the internet.
While we will no longer refer to the Genre Formerly Known as Poetry as ‘writing’, we still believe in the formative spirit of the avant-garde. We still feel passionate about poetry as a unique experience that can be cherished in meaningful ways. We’re just tired of the way things are done and can’t tell if we should just ‘shut up and deal’ or if it is realistic to believe that there are new, different ways to do things for poets, content farms, and readers. Or maybe things are awesome and this is what we always wanted and now that we have it.
Whether it’s poetry, culture, memes, opinions, or any sort of web content, we h8 the content farm era, because it makes us want to share more of ourselves because it is all just to get people to read this even if you trying to write something genuine to make a point because you want to connect with people.
“I guess we were all just killing time on the internet for the past __ years anyways. Who cares.”
—us when we die
“It all used to feel like it meant something real.”
—every1 about the past