Can techniques traditionally thought to be outside the scope of
literature, including word processing, databasing, identity
ciphering, and intensive programming, inspire the reinvention of
writing? The Internet and the digital environment present writers
with new challenges and opportunities to reconceive creativity,
authorship, and their relationship to language. Confronted with an
unprecedented amount of texts and language, writers have the
opportunity to move beyond the creation of new texts and manage,
parse, appropriate, and reconstruct those that already exist.
In addition to explaining his concept of uncreative writing,
which is also the name of his popular course at the University of
Pennsylvania, Goldsmith reads the work of writers who have taken up
this challenge. Examining a wide range of texts and techniques,
including the use of Google searches to create poetry, the
appropriation of courtroom testimony, and the possibility of
robo-poetics, Goldsmith joins this recent work to practices that
date back to the early twentieth century. Writers and artists such
as Walter Benjamin, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Andy Warhol
embodied an ethos in which the construction or conception of a text
was just as important as the resultant text itself. By extending
this tradition into the digital realm, uncreative writing offers
new ways of thinking about identity and the making of meaning.
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