Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing


In much the same way that photography forced painting to move in new directions, the advent of the World Wide Web, with its proliferation of easily transferable and manipulated text, forces us to think about writing, creativity, and the materiality of language in new ways. In Against Expression, editors Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith present the most innovative works responding to the challenges posed by these developments.

Charles Bernstein has described conceptual poetry ...

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In much the same way that photography forced painting to move in new directions, the advent of the World Wide Web, with its proliferation of easily transferable and manipulated text, forces us to think about writing, creativity, and the materiality of language in new ways. In Against Expression, editors Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith present the most innovative works responding to the challenges posed by these developments.

Charles Bernstein has described conceptual poetry as "poetry pregnant with thought." Against Expression, the premier anthology of conceptual writing, presents work that is by turns thoughtful, funny, provocative, and disturbing. Dworkin and Goldsmith, two of the leading spokespersons and practitioners of conceptual writing, chart the trajectory of the conceptual aesthetic from early precursors including Samuel Beckett and Marcel Duchamp to the most prominent of today’s writers. Nearly all of the major avant-garde groups of the past century are represented here, including Dada, OuLiPo, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, and Flarf to name just a few, but all the writers are united in their imaginative appropriation of found and generated texts and their exploration of nonexpressive language. Against Expression is a timely collection and an invaluable resource for readers and writers alike.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810127111
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 1/17/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 656
  • Sales rank: 826,434
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Craig Dworkin is the author of Reading the Illegible (Northwestern, 2003), and the editor of Architectures of Poetry (2004), Language to Cover a Page: The Early Writing of Vito Acconci (2006), The Consequence of Innovation: 21st Century Poetics (2008), and, with Marjorie Perloff, The Sound of Poetry/The Poetry of Sound (2009).

Kenneth Goldsmith’s writing has been called "some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry" by Publishers Weekly. Goldsmith is the author of ten books of poetry. He teaches writing at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a senior editor of PennSound, an online poetry archive.

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Table of Contents

Why Conceptual Writing? Why Now?
Kenneth Goldsmith

The Fate of Echo
Craig Dworkin

Monica Aasprong
from Soldatmarkedet

Walter Abish
from Skin Deep

Vito Acconci
from Contacts/Contexts (Frame of Reference): Ten Pages of Reading Roget's Thesaurus
Removal, Move (Line of Evidence): The Grid Locations of Streets, Alphabetized, Hagstrom's Maps of the Five Boroughs: 3. Manhattan

Kathy Acker
from Great Expectations

Sally Alatalo
from Unforeseen Alliances

Paal Bjelke Andersen
from The Grefsen Address


Davic Antin
A List of the Delusions of the Insane: What They Are Afraid Of
from Novel Poem
from The Separation Meditations

Louis Aragon

Nathan Austin
from Survey Says!

J.G. Ballard
Mae West's Reduction Mammoplasty

Fiona Banner
from The Nam

Derek Beaulieu
from Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Samuel Beckett
from Molloy
from Watt

Caroline Bergvall
VIA (36 Dante Translations)

Charles Bernstein
from I and The

Tod Berrigan
An Interview with John Cage

Jen Brevin
from Nets

Gregory Betts
from If Language

Christian Bök
from Busted Sirens
from Eunoia

Marie Buch
from Whole Foods

William S. Burroughs
from Nova Express

Davic Buuck

John Cage
Writing Through The Cantos

Blaise Cendrars
from Kodak

Thomas Claburn
from i feel better after i type to you

Elisabeth S. Clark
from Between Words

Claude Closky
The First Thousand Numbers Classified in Alphabetical Order
from Mon Catalogue

Clark Coolidge
from Cabinet Voltaire
from Bond Sonnets

Hart Crane
Emblems of Conduct

Brian Joseph Davis
from Voice Over

Katie Degentesh
The Only Miracles I Know of Are Simply Tricks that People Play on One Another

Mónica de la Torre
from Doubles

Denis Diderot
from Jacques le fataliste et son maître

Marcel Duchamp
from notes

Craig Dworkin
from Legion
from Parse

Laura Elrick
from First Words

Dan Farrell
from The Inkblot Record

Gerald Ferguson
from The Standard Corpus of Present Day English Language Usage Arranged by Word Length and Alphabetized Within Word Length

Robert Fitterman
from The Sun Also Rises

Lawrence Griffin
Spinoza's Ethics

Peter Gizzi
Ode: Salute to the New York School, 1950-1970 (a libretto)

Judith Goldman
from dictée
from r'ture/CENTaur

Kenneth Goldsmith
from Day
from No. III 2.7.92-10.20.96
from Soliloquy
from The Weather

Nada Gordon
Abnormal Discharge

Noah Eli Gordon
from Inbox

Michael Gottlieb
from The Dust

Dan Graham
Exclusion Principle

Michelle Granguad
from Biographies/Poetry

Brion Gysin
First Cut-Ups

Michael Harvey
from White Papers

H. L. Hix
Poem composed of statements made by George W. Bush in January 2003

Yunte Huang
from Cribs

Douglas Huebler
from Secrets: Variable Piece #4

Peter Jaeger
from Rapid Eye Movement

Emma Kay
from Worldview

Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler
from Apostrophe

Michael Klauke
from Ad Infinitum

Christopher Knowles
from Typings

Joseph Kosuth
from Purloined: A Novel

Leevi Lehto
from Päivä

Tan Lin
from BIB

Dana Teen Lomax
from Disclosure

Trisha Low

Rory Macbeth
from The Bible (alphabetized)

Jackson Mac Low
from Words nd Ends from Ez

Stéphan Mallarmé
from La dernière mode
from Le livre

Donato Mancini

Peter Manson
from Adjunct: An Undigest
from English in Mallarmé

Shigeru Matsui
Pure Poems

Bernadette Mayer
from Eruditio ex Memoria

Steve McCaffery
Fish Also Rise
The Kommunist Manifesto or Wot We Wukkers Want
   Bi Charley Marx un Fred Engels

Stephen McLaughlin and Jim Carpenter
from Issue I

David Melnick
from Men in Aida, Book II

Richard Meltzer
Barbara Mauritz: Music Box
Denny Lile
Maple Leaf Cowpoop Round-Up

Christof Migone
from La première phrase et le dernier mot

Tomoko Minami
from 38: The New Shakespeare

K. Silem Mohammad
Spooked and Considering How Spooky Deer Are
from Sonnagrams

Simon Morris
from Getting Inside Jack Kerouac's Head
from Re-writing Freud

Yedda Morrison
from Kyoto Protocol

Harryette Mullen
Bilingual Instructions
Mantra for a Classless Society, or Mr. Roget's Neighborhood

Alexandra Nemerov
First My Motorola

C. K. Ogden
Anna Livia Plurabelle

Tom Orange
I Saw You

Parasitic Ventures
from All the Names In Search of Lost Time

Georges Perec
Attempt at an Inventory of the Liquid and Solid Foodstuffs Ingurgitated by Me in the Course of the Year Nineteen Hundred and Seventy-Four

M. NourbeSe Philip
from Zong!

Vanessa Place
from Statement of Facts

Bern Porter

Raymond Queneau
from The Foundations of Literature

Claudia Rankine
from Don't Let Me Be Lonely

Ariana Reines
from The Cow

Charles Reznikoff
from Testimony, Volume II: The United States (1885-1915) Recitative

Deborah Richards
from The Beauty Projection

Kim Rosenfield
The Other Me

Raymond Roussel
from How I Wrote Certain of My Books

Aram Saroyan
Untitled Poem

Ara Shirinyan
from Your Country Is Great

Ron Silliman
from Sunset Debris

Juliana Spahr
Thrashing Seems Crazy

Brian Kim Stefans
from The Vaneigem Series

Gary Sullivan
Conceptual Poem (WC + WCW)
To a Sought Catepillar

Nick Thurston
He Might Find

Rodrigo Toscano
Welcome to Omnium Dignitatem

Tristan Tzara
from Dada Manifesto on Feeble and Bitter Love

Andy Warhol
from a: a novel

Darren Wershler
from The Tapeworm Foundry

Christine Wertheim
Finnegans Wanke/Finnegans Wake

Wiener Gruppe
ideas for a "record album/functional" acoustic cabaret
11 abecedaries

William Butler Yeats
Mona Lisa

Steven Zultanski
My Death Drive

Vladimir Zykov
from I Was Told to Write Fifty Words


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