November 9, 2011

Drew Gardner & Katie Degentesh


Wednesday, November 9
7:30 pm

Mother Foucault's Bookshop
523 SE Morrison Street
(half a block east of Grand)
503-236-2665

$5 suggested donation


Born in 1968 in NJ, Drew Gardner spent his teenage years playing drums in a punk rock band. In the early 90s he lived in San Francisco, writing and working as a jazz drummer. Since 1996 he has lived in New York City, conducting and experimenting in extensive poetomusical collaborations with his Poetics Orchestra. He is a pioneering member of the Flarf Collective. His poetry has been discussed in the Atlantic, the Village Voice, on NPR's Studio 360, and in the Constant Critic. His books include Sugar Pill (Krupskaya), Petroleum Hat (Roof) and Chomp Away (Combo). His CD, Flarf Orchestra, will be released in the fall of 2011 by Edge; examples of his music/poetry performances can be heard on his Pennsound page. He lives in New York with the poet Katie Degentesh.

Born in 1974 in Virginia, Katie Degentesh grew up in the Baltimore/Washington area, went to college on Maryland's Eastern Shore, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of California at Davis. She moved to New York City in 2000, where she lives with the poet Drew Gardner and their parrot, Henry. Her first book of poetry, The Anger Scale, was published by Combo Books in 2007. Her work has been published or reviewed in Fence, Crayon, Chicago Review, Believer, and Brooklyn Rail, among other journals.


Why do I hate Flarf so much?

She came from the mountains, killing zombies at will. Some people cried "but that was cool!" and I could only whisper "we should NOT be killing zombies!" What have you gotten yourself to do? Did it ever occur to you that you may in fact hate yourself? I know I do . . . I'm not nearly high enough yet--and you're not helping. My group got invited to join the Flarfist Collective, set up some hibachis and do what we do best, if you know what I mean. I wouldn't have so much of a problem with this writing if it were a library and I checked out the entire world as if it were a single book. Strike "helpful" off your list. The 4th quarter gets pretty intense and the announcers are usually trying to figure out who is going to become overwhelmed by their own arrogant nightmares. It would upset the stomach of the balance of nature. I always go red over the stupidest things and I have no clue why. Whether it's speaking in front of the class or someone asking me why I think I have the right to say anything. Why do I need an enemy to feel okay about what I'm doing? Observe yourself as you browse with sophistication through the topic of Authorship & Credibility. Why do I hate the surface of the world so much that I want to poison it? Why do I hate this so much? Well . . . you Hate Your Fucking Dad! Why is the screen so damn small? And why does the car turn so sharply? And why is the only sound I hear the sound of a raft of marmosets? BECAUSE I'm fucking ANXIOUS AS HELL about EVERYTHING. AAAAAAAAARGH. It's even worse: "I'll tell you later." The medium is literally made of thousands of beautiful, living, breathing wolves. Why do I hate the moon so much? Unpublish your ideas in reverse. People hate any new way of writing. My girlfriend really hates it. There is not so much daytime left. Life is like spring snow tossing off mercurial Creeley-like escapes from life-threatening health problems. In summer we love winter in winter we love summer--all poetry is written in social mercurochrome. Since I hate the abridgement of life, a function of needing to please unpleaseable parents is more what this is about. Hate and love--if those are the options I just want to love and hate lobsters. The oddity is not so much that Blake held these eccentric views for most of his life, but that in modern civilization they not only extend the hand, so that it could not complain about complaining about something it hadn't even bothered to read, and instead formed a halfway decent indie rock band. I'm actually starting to get much more interested in white people than I used to be. Why do I hate Flarf so much? Because it is against everything good this country once espoused. Why do I hate Flarf so much? Because of the awful conflict it places the law-abiding or police-fearing poets under.

Drew Gardner


I WANTED TO FEEL CLOSER TO GOD

What are you doing on the earth?
I am trying to look pretty because God keeps taking my picture.

I gave God His body!
Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones,
why don't we keep the ones we have now?

Jesus could lift our house in none seconds.
Jesus would play Super Mario Kart Wii with His brothers.

My God gave me money. He is nice. I love Him.
He is gone most of the time, but I don't mind.
I ate his chocolate. It was good. He is the best!

Gods are crazy.
I saw one in my backyard last night.
He shook his tail feathers.

God makes nests.
The head is weird.
He stings if you touch him.
His wings are skinny.
I like His head.
God makes money.

I like God and God likes me. 
Gods are yellow. God eats meat. 
God can see. God drinks. God can fight.

God lays eggs. 
His heart is weird. His back is soft.
His head is fat.
His tail is a heart.

You kick the ball. You kick the ball high.
You don't touch it with your hands.
You don't fall on purpose.

My God eats little bones.
My God sleeps funny.
My God fetches balls.
My God is cute.
My God is little.
My God is black.

God has eyes like me.
God eats ice cream like me.
God cleans good.
God growls and kills animals.
I don't have to. My Mom is a good cook.

It's a GOD!
Running around yelling "i have a vagina."
Mommy what's wrong with her she has a hole!

Mommy, that woman has really big pants!
Well if God is everywhere, then he is in my pants too.

I wasn't thinking about God, I was just READING about him!!!
I couldn't really remember the ending, so it must not have been very good. 
I am just giving it a better one!

Gods are cool.
Gods blow fire.
Gods walk around.
Gods are green.
Gods hate people a lot.
Gods can be guards.
Gods fly.

God stared at the dinosaur, but the dinosaur was nice.


"I Wanted to Feel Closer to God" is from a forthcoming book-length project with the working title of Reasons to Have Sex. The poems' titles are all direct selections from the 238 answers listed in the "YSEX? Why Have Sex?" questionnaire, a scientific document compiled by researchers after polling over 2,000 respondents on their motivation for having sexual intercourse. 

The poems were then formed from internet search results, with each search based on and containing phrases or words from the titles.  

Since children can be said to be the reason we are equipped to have sex, the poems themselves were further limited in that only search results that were presented as children's writing were used in the poems.

Katie Degentesh