Younger poets are find it stimulating: they are reclaiming this “found” poetry and uploading it to the self-publishing platform Lulu. They create print-on-demand books that, most likely, will never be printed, but will live as PDFs on Lulu—their de-facto publisher and distributor. These are big, ridiculous books, like Chris Alexander’s five-hundred-and-twenty-eight-page “McNugget,” which reprints every tweet ever posted that contains the word “McNugget”; Andy Sterling’s “Supergroup,” which appropriates over four hundred pages’ worth of Discogs listings of small-bit session players from long-forgotten nineteen-seventies LPs; and Angela Genusa’s “Tender Buttons,” which converts Gertrude Stein’s difficult modernist text of the same name into illegible computer code.Doesn't that inspire you?
Quality is beside the point—this type of content is about vast quantity of language that surrounds us, and how difficult it is to render meaning from such excesses. In the past decade, writers have been culling the Internet for material, making books that are more focussed on collecting than on reading. These ways of writing—word processing, databasing, recycling, appropriating, intentionally plagiarizing, identity ciphering, and intensive programming, to name just a few—have traditionally been considered outside the scope of literary practice.Seriously, this is some kind of combination of put on and public masturbation. No wonder it's so easy to throw your hands in the air and dismiss art as unimportant.