States of Independence
Dazed's ultimate guide to US creativity

Kenneth Goldsmith's manifesto for poetry now

Why should we care about poetry? America's prolific archive activist introduces his edit by telling you why

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As part of our new summer US project States of Independence we've invited our favourite 30 American curators, magazines, creatives and institutions to takeover Dazed for a day. 

Kenneth Goldsmith is taking over. The Museum of Modern Art's first Poet Laureate and founder of Ubuweb is on a mission to tell us why we should care about poetry at all – from his stirring call to arms (or QWERTY keyboards), to exclusive poetry designed to challenge your poetic preconceptions: Microsoft Word poems, found poems and Mira Gonzalez's diet poems

Nobody likes poetry. And why would they? Do we need another poem that describes the way that light falls on your writing desk as a metaphor for your mother's cancer operation? Absolutely not.

And yet artists are flocking to poetry these days precisely because it's an orphaned and evacuated space, ready to be repurposed with poetry that looks nothing like the kind of poetry you see (but don't read) drizzled across the pages of The New Yorker. Instead of sonnets, we see apps, image macros, hacked photoshopped images, found language, hardcore programming, and YouTube videos posing as poetry. Suddenly, poetry looks interesting again.

In this portfolio, there are two living young women, one dead man, and one anonymous street artist. They all, in their own way, radically expand our idea of what poetry can be: visually, linguistically, and emotionally.   

The internet is the greatest poem ever written, unreadable mostly because of its size. We are drowning in language. The best poets are those who can best repurpose that language, reframing it as poetry. Poetry will be made by all.

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