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Only the Death Drive


According to Toby Litt in the latest issue of Esquire, Tony O’Neill‘s Offbeat masterpiece, Digging the Vein, is today’s answer to On the Road: ‘Digging the Vein fits neatly with our confessional times: there’s no dignity, there’s no road, only the death drive’ (more in dogmatika ).

In other Offbeat Gen news, Brutalist Ben Myers wonders if spoetry (spam poetry) is ‘the new poetry of the 21st century’: ‘Real spam poems require human input; they need a sense of order, otherwise they end up as unreadable gibberish reminiscent of artist Jake Chapman’s Metaphysics. This is typing not poetry. No: the best spam poems are those that twist the bastardised language into something new, something readable. Frequently, spam-mails are filled with incongruous yet titillating combinations of words or excerpts from science fiction or westerns. Spam poetry is therefore the literary equivalent of recycling; it takes off-cuts and lets them ferment into something new and occasionally exotic. A spam poet is as much an editor as a bard, someone who knows which pieces of fat need trimming, who can use a spam-mail as a spring-board into his or her own imagination. And though there are no rules, I happen to believe that the best spoems are those that can be crafted in a matter of minutes…’ Also well worth reading is Lee Rourke‘s Guardian blog entry on his hero Blaise Cendrars and Joseph Ridgwell on the Brutalists and Offbeats: ‘The antiquated monolith that is today’s corporate publishing industry has, by blind default, forced this disparate group of artists to connect with each other and form the most vibrant underground lit scene since the Beat Generation’. Matthew Coleman, who is editing the Offbeat Gen anthology with me, is interviewed by Sean McGahey over at The Beat. 

First posted: Thursday, July 26th, 2007.

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