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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age Paperback – September 20, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0231149914 ISBN-10: 0231149913

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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age + Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century + Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing (Agm Collection)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231149913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231149914
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Brilliant and elegant insight into the exact relation of contemporary literary practices and broader cultural changes, explaining how the technologies of distributed digital media exemplified by the World Wide Web have made possible the flourishing of a particular type of literature.

(Professor Craig Dworkin, author of The Consequence of Innovation: Twenty-First-Century Poetics)

What Goldsmith argues has significant implications for the world of poetry, poetics, and pedagogy. His book contains brilliant moments of exegesis and archival documentation, and its keen attention to, knowledge about, and currency in artistic practice makes it as much a user's manual as a scholar's tome.

(Adalaide Morris, The University of Iowa)

In these witty, intelligent essays, Goldsmith brings his encyclopedic knowledge of radical artistic practice to bear on how the rise of the internet has irrevocably changed, or should irrevocably change, our existing conceptions of poetry. Goldsmith's practice as artist and critic is deeply interesting. His book is sure to generate lively debate among poets, artists, literary historians, and media theorists.

(Sianne Ngai, University of California, Los Angeles)

Multimedia artist and executive manager of words, Goldsmith writes a provocative manifesto for writing in the digital era, with a treasure trove of ideas, techniques, and examples that allow us to make it new -- again!

(Marcus Boon, author of In Praise of Copying)

"…a fascinating collection of essays…"

(Phi Beta Kappa)

Goldsmith achieves a very difficult feat with this book: he writes lucidly about complex and avant-garde ideas. As a result, he opens up a vital debate for anyone who cares about literature, between notions of traditional creative writing and the set of practices he labels "uncreative writing".

(Douglas Cowie Times Higher Education)

Selected writers and their practices are reviewed in a series of accessible essays perfect for college-level writers.

(Midwest Book Review)

Good.

(James Franco, actor)

About the Author

Kenneth Goldsmith is the author of ten books of poetry and founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb (ubu.com). He is the coeditor of Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing and the editor of I'll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews, which was the basis for an opera, "Trans-Warhol," that premiered in Geneva in March of 2007. An hour-long documentary of his work, Sucking on Words, premiered at the British Library. He teaches writing at The University of Pennsylvania and is a senior editor of PennSound, an online poetry archive.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ali G on September 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
Declaring something uncreative writing and rehashing post-structuralist critiques of authorship does little to obscure his belated, retro perspective. The problems he sees as relevant to writing are the same problems Duchamp worked through nearly a century ago. The author's implicit claims deserve the same respect one might give to someone suddenly discovering surrealism for the first time in the twenty-first century, except surrealism is actually a more recent phenomenon than conceptualism.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Muse on November 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the most important books written on the future (and perhaps recent past) of contemporary writing -- prophetic look on how technology is shaping writing and consciousness. Far reaching -- with tie ins to contemporary art. A must read for the new Post-Moderns;
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laura Winton on August 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kenneth Goldsmith's Uncreative Writing is a new/another way to think about digital writing, issues of plagiarism, and what he refers to as something comparable in writing (the pc and the internet) to what painting had to face to redefine itself in the wake of photography.

One of the things that makes this book so pleasurable to read is the joy with which Goldsmith lays out the climate in writing today, the possibilities inherent in this kind of "uncreative writing," and the various ways that others,including artists, writers, and even his own students, have taken up this style of writing in their own ways.

This book makes me happy, too, in the same way that look at a painting by Yves Tanguy or a sculpture by Max Ernst makes me happy. And I have to admit that even though I don't always think of such things on my own, I really admire the kinds of trangressive writing acts described in the book, as well as his very good defense of such mundane activities as retyping the NYT every day for a year. Then again, since it is called uncreative writing, maybe I shouldn't beat myself up for not being able to come up with the kind of "uncreative" genres and assignments the he speaks of. Still, I am obviously not an "uncreative genius." But I can still admire this book and borrow/steal ideas which he has crystallized, if not created himself.

There are also some really great pedagogical ideas in there that will make students rethink the physical act of writing, acts of transcribing, the nature of research and of documenting sources, alongside questions of appropriation, pastiche, sampling, etc. that we are still dealing with, 100 years after the Urinal. I think this is a good book for any writing instructor, not just for creative/uncreative writing.
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Format: Paperback
As one might expect, the Ubu web founder Kenneth Goldsmith has made a case that we have ALWAYS created from our interactions with others rather than creating in a vacuum. Goldsmith explains how the literary world has been slow to embrace this fact, making the book a wonderful brief history of the ART world's avant garde. Plenty of fun stuff to try - such as turning a digital image into the code that creates it, proving that today, most images we see are actually text - a fact that everyone I know ignores. He highlights the work of artists who make us aware of the text we swim in daily and how the commercial world has exploited us. For example, he points out the graffiti on buses has been replaced with ads for products. After reading this text, I was suddenly aware of how difficult it is to actually try to copy something (most recently experienced this when trying to do layouts of a poetry book and realizing the choice of italics or caps for a title actually changed the text- something I would not have even considered before reading this text). Will be using this with my classes this year, as well as discussing Goldsmith's most recent writings about the end of copyright.
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Format: Paperback
One of the most important books written on the future (and perhaps recent past) of contemporary writing -- prophetic look on how technology is shaping writing and consciousness. Far reaching -- with tie ins to contemporary art. A must read for the new Post-Moderns;

The book describes current cultural trends that are not reflected too often. Thinking about writing in the age of electronic communication and internet is frequent today but insight into how writing really changes is rather new. The changes are considered not only from such kinds of points of view as you have access to information, you can manipulate texts, but the author offers insight into rather deep changes in writing.

Great new perspective, drawing on experiments today and in the past...Why bother with originality? Collect, curate, display.

This book won the 2012 Book Prize from the international arts society A.S.A.P. (The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present). The prize was announced at the association's London conference at the Royal College of Art in 2012.
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