Saturday, May 17, 2008
K. Silem Mohammad. Edge (SPD, dist.), $15 paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-890311-23-0
Mohammad's methods place him (with Katie Degentesh, Gary Sullivan and others) in the recent school of poets called Flarfists, who derive their work from Internet searches and treasure outlandish “bad” or tasteless lines. After three books and countless provocative posts on his popular blog, lime-tree.blogspot.com, Mohammad may no longer count as an enfant terrible, but his poetry retains its destructive force. Sometimes baffling, often offensive, on occasion ingenious, Mohammad highlights cheesy, clunky or trashy locutions in a frontal attack on our notions of poetic craft, culture and taste. His works can morph into perverse self-portraits: “some people think I'm a gluttonous porcine/ furry man-killing goldmine made of sweet gold.” Some titles mock icons of culture as in the parodies of Frank O'Hara with which the volume concludes. Others pile on such celebrities as Celine Dion or try hard to violate taboos (“Mom forced me to drink her shimmering oriole juice”). Sometimes Mohammad attacks both sense and grammar: “subtext beef guilt philanthropy blanket/ titanium seagull prong.” The outlandish vagaries of Mohammad's new work will stoke the fires of those who have found thrills and controversy in Flarf so far. (May)
by K. Silem Mohammad
80 pgs, cover design by Anne Boyer
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