Last week I went to ATA (Artists Television Access, 992 Valencia Street at 21st) to see a program of films and poetry headlined by two old friends Gary Sullivan and Nada Gordon. Gary is a poet and prose writer credited with the invention of flarf, a much talked about movement to reduce the lyric, epiphanic element of poetry and replace it with materials found by chance on the internet—google searches and the like. Nada Gordon is also a member of the Flarf Collective and has written many books of poetry and other sorts of writing. She is the youngest person to appear in the anthology of US poets theater work that David Brazil and I have been editing for Kenning Editions. The program last week was heavy on “neo-benshi,” right now the dominant nexus where poetry meets film—rather like Godzilla “meeting” Mothra, or Frankenstein “meeting” Abbott and Costello, there’s an element of the gladiatorial about it.
I first heard about the role of the benshi in Japanese and Korean... More