Kenneth Goldsmith
(USA, 1961)   
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Kenneth Goldsmith

Kenneth Goldsmith (1961) started out as an artist, but inspired by various avant-garde movements in both art and literature (much of whose work he brought together on the website UbuWeb), he developed into a writer capable of creating a ruckus within the literary establishment. He makes an impact not only through his books but also his readings and public performances.

Goldsmith is an enthusiastic advocate of a conceptual literature that, following the example of conceptual art, mainly manifests itself as a literature that should be discussed more than it should be read. As he says himself: ‘my books are insanely boring and unreadable, but they are fantastic to think and talk about, to dip into from time to time, to have on your shelf. I’m more than happy to say that I don’t have a readership but a thinkership.’

In fact, all of Goldsmith’s writing forms a single, major, ongoing project in which he turns existent material into books by recycling and appropriating texts, such as Day (2003) in which he completely and accurately typed out the New York Times from 1 September 2000, and The Weather (2005), which is the transcription of a year of weather forecasts. Earlier work might well still bear the mark of the author but is mainly based on the consistent processing of a pre-determined concept -- for example, all the movements his body made in a thirteen hour period (Fidget, 1999), or everything he said for a week (Soliloquy, 2001).

He is the author of the controversial book of essays, Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in a Digital Age (2011), and he edited I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews (2004) and Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing (2011). In 2013, he was named Poet Laureate of the Museum of Modern Art (New York). He is the editor of the audio archive Pennsound and teaches Poetics and Practical Poetry at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.

© Jan Baeke (Translated by Michele Hutchison)



No. 110 10.4.93-10.7.93, Artists Museum, nddz, Poland, 1993
73 poems (with Joan La Barbara), Permanent Press, 1994
No. 109 2.7.93-12.15.93, Bravin Post Lee, 1994
No., The Figures, 1997
Gertrude Stein on Punctuation/Gertrude Stein’s Punctuation, Abaton Books, 2000
Fidget, Coach House Books, 2000
6799, zingmagazine, 2000
Soliloquy, Granary Books, 2001
Head Citations, The Figures, 2002
Day, The Figures, 2003
The Weather : Winter Spring Summer Fall, Make Now, Los Angeles, 2005
Traffic, Make Now, Los Angeles, 2007
Sports, Make Now, Los Angeles, 2008
Seven American Deaths and Disasters, powerHouse Books, New York, 2013

Scholarly prose
Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in a Digital Age, Columbia University Press, New York, 2011

As editor
UbuWeb, 1996-current
Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing (with Craig Dworkin) Northwestern University Press, Chicago, 2011


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