The Anthology of Spam Poetry

Spam Poetry… huh? When I first received this volume I thought the title was satirical but no, it is in fact an anthology; collected works by spam poets from around the world. Spam poetry is poetry without an author, in the sense that the words are not original. Rather, they are lifted from any of a variety of sources: spam emails, signs, ads at the bank or walking through a crowded train station and remembering only the fragments of conversations. I read familiar lines from many of the spam emails that crowd my own inbox every day, such as “Do you want to earn money? Do you like to play video games?” in the poem, “If Penises Could Talk on Masculinity and Man Power” by Imamu Marmolejo.

These poets take blatant liberties with their punctuation and grammar, so that their poetry varies from what makes sense (as in, forms sentences), such as “A Glimpse of Paradise”, by Ben Myers:

Paradise is where almost anything could be sold to what seems like complete nonsense, such as in Sleigh Royal (Part One), by Stefanie Goldstein:

But what do I care? In the end, they’ll following his instincts backward, the very direction they couldn’t take. Think upside down, reversing the curve of his wing, and reversing it.

Themistocles Millener, in “Die Like Frank Sinatra”, uses three commas in sequence,,,. Does that mean, like, a pause for three breaths instead of one? The anthology includes short biographies of each author at the bottom of every page, which are as interesting as the poems and, being gently self-mocking, made me chuckle without exception. Some authors created their poetry in various media, such as Cornelius McCarthy, who wrote short bursts of graffiti, or Damaris Spohn, who built huge concrete word sculptures.

Spam poetry is like cutting words out of magazines to make your own magnetic fridge poetry. It’s like the moment when you know you’re falling asleep because your thoughts stop following any logical order. You can just let the words echo round in your head and whatever images may come, will come. It’s very relaxing, interestingly experimental, and I would like everyone to try it. (Sarah Nelson)

Morton Hurley (ed.), 70 pgs, Vertice 1925, P.O. Box 890882, Houston TX, 77289-0882, vertice1925.blogspot.com

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