Petroleum Hat

Drew Gardner, Author . Roof $12.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-931824-17-0

The most salient form of "Google poetry"—or the collaging and strategic search-and-replacing of text from Web searches—has come to be called "Flarf" by an Internet collective that produces a great deal of it. None of the Flarf poets—including K. Silem Mohammad (Deer Head Nation ), Gary Sullivan (How to Proceed in the Arts ; he wrote the first Flarf poem, and coined the term) and Katie Degentesh (The Anger Scale , forthcoming)—is exclusively such, as is true for Gardner, also a Flarf listmember. Gardner's debut, Sugar Pill (2003), used hemistichic verse to slow down and process, beautifully, the money-and-information assault of contemporary culture and to develop a countering eco-animism on a par with that of Juliana Spahr. This book, clearly written (or Googled up) in reaction to the current Iraq war and the political climate surrounding it, is a lot more acidly ironic (or, in group parlance, "Flarfy") in an "extreme times, extreme measures" sort of way. Dropping the most absurd first-person declarations (some sweet: "I am reduced to being a fluffy lifeboat again") into nearly 50 lyrics, Gardner conjures the kind of complicated, childish political ignorance and faulty, malevolent citizenship that George Carlin can only joke about. It is this book's particular genius to make tightly grafted stacks of assertions like "A woman's hormone-driven 'logic'/ will equate power with war" (from "Chicks Dig War") start to look like a cable news crawl. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 12/05/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
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