review: “the anthology of spam poetry” / morton hurley. 2007

The Anthology of Spam Poetry is a collection of texts realized by Morton Hurley using spam and junk mail harvested in gmail, yahoo and hotmail inboxes. Each text, that collects sequences and fragments of spam, is signed by a name we can easily suppose to be taken from the same spam used and processed by the text itself. For each name, we are supplied with a brief, ironic and parodical biography of the person that name should belong to.
This way, the collection is offering us a tridimensional fictional space. A first dimension is displayed by the texts that, as every piece of literature, compose the lines of a fictitious space-time continuum, by means of reference, voices, points of view, etc. The second dimension is generated by those funny biographies of poets, with their bizarre characters and unlikely plots. The third dimension is configured by the juxtaposition of the previous two, in a kind of postmodernist game of levels, in which we have to deal with a light but radical parody of literature itself. This parody works in many ways but, first of all, by exposing the two most important “characters” in the narration of literature: the text and the author, that is canon and history of literature.
A brief foreword by K. Silem Mohammad focuses on the main issue this game of levels is pointing out. KSM says: “The problem with most poetry is that is written by people”. That is: the problem that most literature works face is their relation with their authors’ intention and belief.
It seems actually that the first target of the fictional engine this collection is implementing is the relation between what a text “is” and what it should be as a message. That is the question we are all supposed to ask ourselves when we’re reading a text: what did the author want to tell me? It’s obvious that, when there’s nor the message neither the one who should send it us, as in this case, the question sounds a bit dull and exposes its own frailness, leaving us to manage an even more complicated issue: if nobody is telling me anything, what’s that I’m still hearing and who’s talking?

da “the anthology of spam poetry” / morton hurley. 2007

The Anthology of Spam Poetry / Morton Hurley

A Better Future, World-Confounding

He tried to fight the chaos, to summon from lips under the thin mustache. Among the rocks and rubble stood a bulldozer, its lowered bucket jammed. His free arm crawled forward never taking his eyes off the line where he listened. And when Monkey stopped crying and went back to sleep, he waited.

To be centered for shame meant that he would be cast out of gull, surrealistic and the absurd. The cumulative effect is Kafkaesque horror. The grateful mankind will never forget you. What that thing was saying no longer had any stood as though he had been planted, he did not even turn around.

A l o n g s i l e n c e .

“Well, this kind of flying has always been here to be my business. Now nothing concerned me any more.”

Strong and light and quick in the air, but far and away more important, he first gulp, but the web crawled across his consciousness again like pictures on a screen.

Asked in a weak voice, “Of course if you wish to learn…”

– Winona Shonda

Ms. Shonda achieved critical acclaimin early 2001 when she dedicated her poem “Life, Wild-Chosen” to the unsung heroes of the Philadelphia anarchist movement during the 1980s. The royalties and acclaim Ms. Shonda received from her work allowed her to explore other avenues of artistic expressions. In 2003, she started her own business of making hand-made paper and recently, she has been exploring the idea of producing and selling chalk with the grand vision of opening her own shop similar to the Sennelier in Paris.

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