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2b. Slow Magic: “Am I Poem?”

Is the video by Rafal Bujnowski in Slow Magic, a painting?

Through the history of the fine arts there have been those who have sought to exclude works from being called ‘art’ or ‘poem’ or ‘painting’.  One of my favourite examples it this painting by Wyndam Lewis, which was rejected from a show at the National Portrait Gallery, because of the phallic symbols in the background.  “If it’s got a willy in it, it’s not a portrait.” tseliot_by_wyndham_lewis1938

But surely there has to be a line drawn somewhere!  Which of the below are the most poem-y poems.  Please mark each one out of 5, where 0=not poemy at all; and 5=a poem.

a) “Mm-hmm”

by Gary Sullivan

Yeah, mm-hmm, it’s true

big birds make

big doo! I got fire inside
my “huppa”-chimp(TM)

gonna be agreessive, greasy aw yeah god

wanna DOOT! DOOT!

Pffffffffffffffffffffffffft! hey!

oooh yeah baby gonna shake & bake then take

AWWWWWL your monee, honee (tee hee)

uggah duggah buggah biggah buggah muggah

hey! hey! you stoopid Mick! get
off the paddy field and git

me some chocolate Quik

put a Q-tip in it and stir it up sick
pocka-mocka-chocka-locka-DING DONG

fuck! shit! piss! oh it’s so sad that

syndrome what’s it called tourette’s

make me HAI-EE! shout out loud

Cuz I love thee. Thank you God, for listening!

B) Questionnaire

by Charles Bernstein

Directions: For each pair of sentences, circle the letter, a or b, that best

expresses your viewpoint. Make a selection from each pair. Do not omit

any items.

1.a) The body and the material things of the world are the key to any

knowledge we can possess.

b) Knowledge is only possible by means of the mind or psyche.

2.a) My life is largely controlled by luck and chance.

b) I can determine the basic course of my life.

3.a) Nature is indifferent to human needs.

b) Nature has some purpose, even if obscure.

4.a) I can understand the world to a sufficient extent.

b) The world is basically baffling.

5.a) Love is the greatest happiness.

b) Love is illusionary and its pleasures transient.

6.a) Political and social action can improve the state of the world.

b) Political and social action are fundamentally futile.

7.a) I cannot fully express my most private feelings.

b) I have no feelings I cannot fully express.

8.a) Virtue is its own reward.

b) Virtue is not a matter of rewards.

9.a) It is possible to tell if someone is trustworthy.

b) People turn on you in unpredictable ways.

10.a) Ideally, it would be most desirable to live in a rural area.

b) Ideally, it would be most desirable to live in an urban area.

11.a) Economic and social inequality is the greatest social evil.

b) Totalitarianism is the greatest social evil.

12.a) Overall, technology has been beneficial to human beings.

b) Overall, technology has been harmful to human beings.

13.a) Work is the potential source of the greatest human fulfillment.

b) Liberation from work should be the goal of any movement for

social improvement.

14.a) Art is at heart political in that it can change our perception of


b) Art is at heart not political because it can change only

consciousness and not events.





by Luke Kennard


You’ve got to understand that I’m not judging anyone here – I mean, hell, whatever gets you through this horrible world. I eat a lot of crisps and make up fake personas on internet dating forums – so I’m hardly beyond reproach, that’s what I’m saying. What I think is if you call someone weird, you’re weird. It’s as simple as that. But this one guy, let’s call him Subject D, gets turned on by judging people. I know! He forms partisan, subjective opinions about people and expresses them eloquently to anyone who’ll listen. He’s pretty persuasive, too. I’ve been won over by him on several occasions. He’s a well-educated man – you ever meet one of those? Yeah, they can be pretty snooty, but he, you know, he’s alright. He doesn’t look down on you – except for when he’s judging you, naturally. Now, I’m the last one to judge someone for being judgemental – I’m pretty judgemental myself, so I’m not going to start getting on any high horse here. I’m not going to cast the first stone. But I can tell you, after talking to this guy for several weeks, what he really gets off on is not the judging per se, but the exponential judgmentalism it inspires in others. It’s like when you blow a dandelion and release all the little white parachute spores. That’s kind of the moneyshot for him.


by Ian Hamilton Finlay


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