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David Daniels 4

David Daniels' MS Word Poems

Kenneth Goldsmith selects the outsider visual artist and his early Windows poetry

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

Outsider poet David Daniels once referred to a web artist as "a human or a machine that pours out his/her/its soul on the internet." More human than machine, Daniels made words out of pictures and pictures out of words right up until his death in 2008. Raised in New Jersey but based out of Berkeley, California, Daniels' pioneering series of visual poems, The Gates of Paradise (2000) are made up of "shape poems" created entirely using an early Windows 3.1 version of Word. Available online in their entirety on Goldsmith's archive site, Ubuweb, the poems anticipate the status of poetry today: both influenced by and living within the digital sphere, and hence designed to be looked at and scrolled across as much as they are to be read. Kenneth Goldsmith selected some of his favourite poems from what he considers to be Daniels' best work in The Gates of Paradise for Dazed.