- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press (September 20, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231149905
- ISBN-13: 978-0231149907
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,221,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age
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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)
An invigoratingly different style of writing guide, that reveals how jump-starts to one's imagination can be achieved through what seems (at first glance) to be the unlikeliest of means. (Library Bookwatch)
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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Sometimes, I did not aggree with the author's view that originality is out of date. Still he offers serious arguments for necessitiy to reconsider Kant's romantic notion of genius.
Sometimes, the author uses journalistic jargon remaining on the rather superficial description of current cultural trends. Nevertheless, his ideas are challenging and he provokes new ways of thinking about reality that is all around us.
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.
Reminds me of the move in the art world toward artists curating on-the-fly shows with their friends, complete with "curatorial" write-ups, and receptions.
This book will give you a lot of good ideas about the ways that electronic text has changed the way we think about writing.