About this poet

Born in 1961 in Freeport, New York, Kenneth Goldsmith attended the Rhode Island School of Design for sculpture and worked as a visual artist for about ten years before taking up conceptual poetry.

His most recent books include the trilogy Sports (Make Now Press, 2008), Traffic (Make Now Press, 2007), and The Weather (Make Now Press, 2005). These volumes consist of a transcribed broadcast of a baseball game, of traffic patterns, and of the weather, respectively. In 2003, he published Day (The Figures), in which he retyped the entirety of the New York Times newspaper from Friday, September 1, 2000, resulting in an 836-page tome.

His other collections include Head Citations (The Figures, 2002), Soliloquy (Granary Books, 2001), Fidget (Coach House Books, 2000), 6799 (zingmagazine press, 2000), No. 111 2.7.93–10.20.96 (Small Press Distribution, 1997), and 73 Poems (Permanent Press, 1993).

These works all follow Goldsmith's model of "uncreative writing." According to the poet, "The idea becomes a machine that makes the text...Uncreative writing is only good when the idea is good." Fidget, for example, which was originally commissioned by the Whitney Museum, is an attempt to record every movement he made during one full day, and Soliloquy is a transcription of everything the poet said during one full week.

Critic Marjorie Perloff has written that "Goldsmith works on the borders between 'poetry' and 'prose' and, more courageously, between poetry and 'not poetry,' not to mention the borders between 'literature' and 'art'."

Together with poets like Christian Bök, Craig Dworkin, and Caroline Bergvall, Goldsmith has established "Conceptual Poetics," which he describes as "a poetics of the moment, fusing the avant-garde impulses of the last century with the technologies of the present, one that...obstinately makes no claims on originality."

Goldsmith teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. He hosts a weekly radio show on WFMU and is the founder of UbuWeb, an online resource for avant-garde poetry and media. He lives in New York with artist Cheryl Donegan and their two sons.

Soliloquy, Act 6 [excerpt]

Kenneth Goldsmith

No. I'm not mad. We were just playing. Yeah. It was a joke. It was a joke. The recorder will stay on this art week. What? No. Just one week. Oh, is it time already for another laundry? Oh, we can take it over. It's no big deal. Remember the time we buried the dog in the laundry? Wasn't that cute? This might be the last wash for the winter. Sorry. Cause we're the same people. We, cause, we're the same person. I'm the secretary. I'm the secretary. Of course I did. That's why I said it but I can't say everything that I know we're thinking cause we'll repeat everything. Oh, that would be a relief. Yeah, if you were if you were taping you'd have 5 times as many tapes as me. I have very few tapes from this week. No, it's much better that it was. It's way better. Yeah. I don't mind, you know, it's just an industrial noise right now it's just it used to sort of scream and whine and, you know, no, it's a lot better. Shirts. Cheryl, what what is this thing and why is it always blocking my closet for all week long? Can you put them in front of your closet? I mean, I don't really care that they're out I just I can't get to my stuff. Put ‘em over there. I think they do a nice job at the at our dry cleaner. Look at how nice this shirt is. They do a good job, don't they? Did you ever get paid from Yale? Did you ever get paid from what's her name, Ardele? What? They can't pay you? This is a different strike? This is a different strike than Kathy's thing? Oy vey. This boy is wired. Look at me, you can never even tell it's a mic. This boy is wired. Oh, you should tell Steven, by the way, also that the FMU I gotta get him one of the playlists and he was on the top the playlist officially came out and he was like one of the very top playlist. I gotta give him an official thing, yeah. He did really well at FMU. It's unbelievable. It's yeah. Well, do you like the CD? I gotta really listen to it. Yeah, I mean, people at the station just went apeshit for it. Sure sure, is another one there? I haven't seen it. You think I can almost think about throwing these out? No, they're just shot. Really. You don't know where that bag went? All right. We'll just use a regular bag. We'll just go buy another. I'm gonna drop you downstairs and you're gonna be living there for a whole week. Oh, look at the sweet one. Do you have a shoehorn? A what? What's a shoehorn? What? What's a shoehorn? Huh? So I like my mother's stories about Max throwing tantrums. That was funny. Hey, maybe we can go, oh, you know what we should do when we're out on the Island today? After the festivities are winding down? Take my parent's car and try to find some yard sales. I mean it's a beautiful like the first nice spring weekend there's gonna be a million yard tag sales going on in Port Washington. What do you say? What do you say? Yeah. We have to make a 10:20 train, yeah. Aren't they nice? I think they're very hip, don't you? They're sort of square? And the real thing about them is they're already they feel already like bedroom slippers. You know, these are gonna become, you know, everyday shoes. My mother has Band Aids, they're not a rare commodity. Good. He was a funny old man. I liked him. He was a funny old guy.

From Soliloquy by Kenneth Goldsmith. Copyright © 2001 by Kenneth Goldsmith. Reprinted with the permission of Granary Books. All rights reserved.

From Soliloquy by Kenneth Goldsmith. Copyright © 2001 by Kenneth Goldsmith. Reprinted with the permission of Granary Books. All rights reserved.

Kenneth Goldsmith

Kenneth Goldsmith

Kenneth Goldsmith follows the model of "uncreative writing" in his work, which he describes as when "the idea becomes a machine that makes the text." 

by this poet

poem

Am I going to have to fight you in court?

No. No. I'm not going to go to court unless you want me there.

I don't want to be in court either, OK?

I don't either.

All, um, um.. Here's the way it works, um, you'll you'll be released today, OK, OK?

Alright.

I I know I can I can bring

poem

E28 THE NEW YORK TIMES, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2000

MAKING CHOICES

FINAL WEEKS

THROUGH SEPTEMBER 26

Anatomically Incorrect

How Movies

How Simple Can You Get?

Ideal Motif. Stieglitz, Weston,

Adams, and Callahan

Modern Living 2

New York Salon

The