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Reading Uncreative Writing

Conceptualism, Expression, and the Lyric


Part of the Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics book series (MPCC)

Table of contents

About this book


This book examines Uncreative Writing—the catch-all term to describe Neo-Conceptualism, Flarf and related avant-garde movements in contemporary North American poetry—against a decade of controversy. David Kaufman analyzes texts by Kenneth Goldsmith, Vanessa Place, Robert Fitterman, Ara Shirinyan, Craig Dworkin, Dan Farrell and Katie Degentesh to demonstrate that Uncreative Writing is not a revolutionary break from lyric tradition as its proponents claim. Nor is it a racist, reactionary capitulation to neo-liberalism as its detractors argue. Rather, this monograph shows that Uncreative Writing’s real innovations and weaknesses become clearest when read in the context of the very lyric that it claims to have left behind.


Flarf affect theory aesthetic theory avant-garde poetry racism and neo-conceptualism anti-capitalist poetry neo-liberalism and neo-conceptual poetry neo-conteptualism cultural privilege Gone with the Wind The Body of Michael Brown

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

About the authors

David Kaufmann teaches literature at George Mason University. He is the author of The Business of Common Life (1995) and Telling Stories: Philip Guston’s Later Works  (2010), as well as a number of articles on poetry and theory.

Bibliographic information