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a conversation with Kenneth Goldsmith and Jena Osman
with students in English 88, "Modern & Contemporary American Poetry"
Kelly Writers House, University of Pennsylvania
hosted by Al Filreis
December 9, 2004

links: | English 88 site | Osman's "Dropping Leaflets" | Goldsmith "Studio 111" interview |

on Kenneth Goldsmith's book Soliloquy:
Our discussion of Goldsmith's work began with this question from a student: "Did your friends and colleagues respond in horror to your writing about them in Soliloquy?" [2:01 MP3] The book seems to be about how we are all "assholes" in the way we talk about others. Was Goldsmith shocked to find himself so effortlessly trashing people? [2:32 MP3]

on Jena Osman's "Dropping Leaflets":
Our discussion of Jena Osman's "Dropping Leaflets" began with this question: "I wonder if in 'Dropping Leafets' you have a clearer sense than Kenny just described for Soliloquy of a politics of language?" It's the poet's job to fight against euphemisms. [4:29 MP3]

on Kenny Goldsmith's Day and non-interventionist language:
This part of the discussion began with this question: "Speaking of filters, how did you deal with the New York Times in your book called Day?" [5:36 MP3]

on Goldsmith's aesthetic as "N+0":
After a question was posed about computer-generated texts, Nick Montfort joined the conversation and proposed that Goldsmith's mode was a variation of "N+7," a procedure of substitution (with the seventh word found in a dictionary after each original). Goldsmith was merely doing "N+0"--not non-intervention but zero-degree substitution. Osman disagrees, proposing "N/Z." [2:07 MP3]

on Jackson Mac Low (whose death occurred the day before this gathering):
Osman speaks first about Mac Low's consistency and change. Goldsmith characterizes Mac Low's purity. This leads to a discussion of ethical modernism [17:11 MP3]

on actual everyday language:
We don't think enough about the way we actually speak. "Life is so much more interesting than art. 'Reality TV' is so much more interesting than sitcoms." Fiction is dead. Reality has really replaced fiction. Goldsmith's new project is to retype the contents of the September 11, 2001 issue of the New York Times. [8:19 MP3]

These sound recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the authors. (C) 2004 by Kenneth Goldsmith and Jena Osman. Used with permission of the authors. Distributed by PennSound