Conceptualism and Craft with K. Silem Mohammad

A Small Press Traffic Workshop
July 8, 2009, 6:00–9:00 pm
San Francisco Campus

Specific location on SF campus TBA
$40 general / $30 students and Small Press Traffic members
Class is limited to 20 participants.
Sign up online using Paypal at or make arrangements through email at


This workshop, originally scheduled over four days, but now offered in its entirety on July 8, begins by examining and rehearsing various techniques central to Conceptualist poetics, broadly considered so as to encompass appropriation, transcription, and other versions of what Kenneth Goldsmith has called "uncreative writing," as well as the deliberately awkward and expressively debased gestures associated with Flarf.

We look at these techniques in relation to older and more traditional notions of craft: Can there be coherent criteria for craft-based evaluation of texts written using blankly conceptual or intentionally "bad" methods? Do any of the familiar aesthetic categories still apply, and if so, how?

K. Silem Mohammad is the author of three books of poetry: Breathalyzer (Edge Books, 2008), A Thousand Devils (Combo Books, 2004), and Deer Head Nation (Tougher Disguises, 2003). His work has been featured in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry 2004, Bay Poetics, and A Best of Fence, as well as the forthcoming Flarf: An Anthology of Flarf, which he is coediting with Sharon Mesmer, Nada Gordon, and Gary Sullivan. With Anne Boyer, he edits the poetry magazine Abraham Lincoln. He is associate professor of English and Writing at Southern Oregon University in Ashland.