Best Before Date

What if the poetic has left the poem in the same way that Elvis has left the building?

Long after the limo pulled away, the audience was still in the arena, screaming for more. Even after his death, especially after his death, Elvis is sighted, replicated and imitated all of the time, but in radically different contexts. If anything, his death was really the beginning of a wild proliferation and circulation of Elvisness beyoind the domain of popular music. In that process, though, the form and meaning of Elvisness changed (and continues to change) dramatically, adapting to and eliciting new kinds of interpretive communities that are interested in having conversations about it, even organizing their entire lives around it. And none of this seems to detract much from the ardor of the original Elvis fans, even if the number of people still waiting in the arena continues to dwindle … and even if the arena itself is in precarious shape.

It’s not that the poetic can’t still be found in poetry; the vast and varied world of small literary presses, poetry blogs, magazines, zines, readings and literary festivals attests that poetry qua poetry is still chugging along just fine. It’s just that the official channels of poetry are not the first place that most people encounter poetic effects these days … and probably haven’t been, for some time now. Reciprocally, what readers are encountering in the books published by poetry presses like Les Figues, Roof, BookThug, Coach House, The Figures, Housepress, Make Now, Truck, etc. is, increasingly, language that was previously considered to be unpoetic. Regardless of this reversal, though, the domains of poetic and public discourse remain largely separate from each other.

In blunt, numeric terms, most of what we read and write isn’t poetry. Of all of the books sold in Canada in 2010, only 0.12 percent of total market sales were poetry titles1. Nevertheless, the metaphors that poets and their critics have used over the last hundred years to discuss poetry’s relationship to media privilege the primacy of poetic discourse, suggesting that ideas flow out from poetry to culture at large. However: poetic language has always already been outside the poem. The inherently paragrammatic nature of language guarantees that it’s always been possible to find poetic effects outside of poetry, and, though it’s impossible to fully document this phenomenon, there are a wealth of examples. Much of the avant-garde writing and art of the last century occupied itself by specializing in harvesting examples of paragrammatic poetic language from “outside” the normal channels of poetic production and redeploying it as art.

Two things changed over the first decade of the new millennium in terms of how poetic language circulates. First, when contemporary experimental writers appropriate large chunks of text for their own use, they don’t necessarily do so because of the location in that text of qualities normally associated with poetry (rhyme, meter, unusual imagery, elegant prosody etc.). Instead, they do so in order to focus attention on the qualities of the genres that we use to convey that peculiar invention of modernity called “information.” This is significant because in order for such genres to convey information, we normally pretend that they have been flensed of all rhetoricity. The result is what Kenneth Goldsmith has called, at various points, boring, uncreative2, or conceptual writing3: a tendency that makes claims to its importance in the world of poetic discourse precisely through its use of previously nonpoetic language. The second is that this tendency to draw attention to the properties of information genres has also been occurring simultaneously outside of the channels in which poetry circulates, at a speed too rapid to argue that such practices are the result of a dissemination from conceptual writing and its ilk. Poetry isn’t currently a driver of culture but a symptom. What interests me is not so much how to read conceptual writing – plenty of critics have already figured that out – but how to read the things that are occurring simultaneously with it, and bear a strong family resemblance to it. The question of what to write after the formalization of conceptual writing also raises its head.

In his essay on the memo and modernity, John Guillory provides a startling reminder that although the modern epistemic order locates literature at one end of its axis and scholarship and science at the other, the great bulk of writing over the last century and a half has been neither literary nor scientific4. Instead, the dark matter of modern textuality is informational writing: memos, business letters, status updates, forms, executive summaries, lists, web pages, reports, RSS feeds, classifed ads, indices, catalogues, howto manuals and countless other hybrid “information genres” that we habitually ignore. Informational writing, especially in its megageneric form, the document, often eludes scrutiny because of its odd combination of ephemerality and permanence: it might be read once or never, but it must always be filed away somewhere, and, at least in theory, accessible5. As both a cause and effect of modernity’s invention of the category of information itself, informational writing aspires to be a mere conduit, to flense itself of all rhetorical flourishes; the more interesting the individual document, the less representative it is of its own genre6. As scholars, we are confronted with exciting project of describing all of these suddenly visible hybrid genres, especially in terms of their roles and functions in constituting the modern, the postmodern and the emerging world of the amodern. As writers, though, we are confronted with some genuine questions about how to proceed.

Of course, there is no zero degree of rhetoricity. As Umberto Eco joked many years ago, the best definition of the sign is that it is anything that can be used to tell a lie7, and art has always been a form of lying. I’d argue, in fact, that the long history of the 20th century avant-gardes consists, for the most part, of artists and writers re-asserting the rhetorical value of information genres by appropriating and recontextualizing significant chunks of them. But rather than thinking once again about appropriation as a practice within writing and art, I’d like to consider the implications of the proliferation today of poeticized information outside of the manifold forms and institutions of verse culture.

For most of the last decade, I’ve been noticing an increasing number of examples of what I initially thought of as “uncreative writing in the wild” or “conceptualism in the wild.” The problem I now have with this term is that it prioritizes the “-ism,” implying a flow outward from poetry into culture at large. This notion of influence and transmission has been one of the command metaphors behind the discourse of poetry and technology for about a century. In 1922, Ezra Pound declaimed that “Artists are the antennae of the race”8. Marshall McLuhan picked up on this metaphor, updating and expanding it many times. This passage is from the introduction to the 2nd edition of Understanding Media:

Art as radar acts as an “early alarm system,” as it were, enabling us to discover social and psychic targets in lots of time to prepare to cope with them. This concept of the arts as prophetic, contrast with the popular idea of them as mere self-expression. If an art is an “early warning system,” to use the phrase from World War II, when radar was new, art has the utmost relevance not only to media study but to the development of media controls.9

Christopher Dewdney’s “Parasite Maintenance” updates the technology in McLuhan’s metaphor for the late 20th century (with a touch of Jack Spicer thrown in for good measure), imagining the poet as a satellite dish: “The radio telescope becomes a model of the bi-conscious interface between ‘the mind’ and signals from the ‘outside’ which the poet receives”10. What these models have in common is that they imagine communication in terms of a more-or-less linear transmission. As James Carey famously pointed out, the transmission model of communication is always wrapped up in “complementary models of power and anxiety”11. Looking again at Pound’s fascist wartime broadcasts, McLuhan’s cold war conservatism and Dewdney’s lysergic paranoia, it’s probably time to find another way to describe the relationship between poetry and the rest of contemporary culture. Teleological accounts of the “influence” of media and literature (and in this case, of their overlap) almost inevitably overlook the messy, contingent ways in which media, formats and genres overlap each other. Rather than origins or influences, it might be more productive to consider, as Foucault suggests, institutionalizations, transformations, affiliations and relationships12. As a corrective then, a better metaphor might be the poet as dosimeter – an index of ongoing exposure to something ambient that’s already in the environment. Something, for that matter, that might actually have killed you before you even knew it was there.

More recently, I’ve started to refer to the objects appearing in culture at large that conceptual writing resembles as “findables.” Here are a few:

The Diary of Samuel Pepys13. Since January 1, 2003, designer and programmer Phil Gyford has been publishing and annotating entries from the 17th century diary of Samuel Pepys on a daily basis. Gyford was one of the first to recognize the cultural significance of the blog as a form, and began this practice long before tools like WordPress and Blogger were commonly available, and at a time when the content of the Web still skewed heavily toward nerd topics (Star Wars, Star Trek, Linux, etc.).

Harry Potter & the Well of Scammers14. 419 eater is a website dedicated to making miserable the lives of perpetrators of Advance Fee Fraud (aka “419 fraud” because of the section of the Nigerian penal code concerning the fraud schemes that originate within its borders). In 2006, “Arthur Dent” [pseud.] received a typical 419 letter from someone identifying themselves as “Joyce Ozioma”, offering him $27 million USD to invest. Dent in turn offered the scammer the opotunity to earn $100 per page of handwritten text for inclusion in “a very important 4 year long research project on Advanced Handwriting Recognition and Graphology systems.” In short order, he convinced them to write out longhand, scan and email him all 293 pages of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – now visible on the website.

The Leila Texts15. There are three ways to send an SMS on the Verizon network: entering a phone number manually, picking a contact from your phonebook, or typing in a name. If you type L-E-I-L-A, you send a message to novelist Leila Sales. Since 2007, she’s been saving and blogging the messages that have been sent to her (on average, five times a day) that should have gone to other Leilas. What’s of interest to her, as the site’s subtitle (“Small glimpses into strangers’ lives, courtesy of a technological glitch”) suggests, is not just the content, but the circumstances of its production and appearance.

Horse_ebooks16. @Horse_ebooks is a Twitter account associated with, which is itself part of, a clearinghouse for quickie ebook titles. Beginning in early 2011, the Twitter feed began to publish excerpts from horse books, mixed with other fragments of text. The combination is oddly compelling, in part because it’s difficult to determine if the tweets are automated or the selections of a human intelligence. The Horse_ebooks Twitter feed caught the imagination of the Internet public late in 2011, and remains a media darling as of this writing.

Richard Dreyfuss reading the Apple iTunes End User License Agreement17. In 2011, CNET Reporters’ Roundtable asked actor Richard Dreyfuss to do a reading of the iTunes EULA as part of an inquiry into why the prose of such licenses is so convoluted. This differs from earlier performances, such as Christopher Walken’s dramatic reading of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” because what’s foregrounded in Dreyfuss’s case is not poetic language, however banal without the accompanying music and performance, but the complex legal language of clickwrap agreements.

Casting the term as an adverb rather than a noun (the “found poem”) is deliberate, because the findable is about potential rather than accomplishment. What that potential represents is a context for discussing the kind of amusing crap that surfaces in our inboxes all the time – altered and unaltered images, funny infographics, viral videos, even spam – in terms of the conditions of its circulability, iterability and form. The “findable” is a genre, an empty container, a potential context serving many of the social purposes we used to attribute to poetry.

The differences that make findables something other than poems are not material; they have to do with questions of circulation. Findables aren’t conceived of as poems; they aren’t produced by people who identify as poets; they circulate promiscuously, sometimes under anonymous conditions; and they aren’t encountered by interpretive communities that identify them as literary.

Unlike their modernist literary cousin the “found poem,” though, findables don’t recover anything for poetry. In this respect, they’re also very different than the “Sought Poems” that K. Silem Mohammad describes. He outlines Flarf’s database-driven method of poetic production which consists of entering multiple keywords into Google and then “whittling and shuffling” the results18. Mohammad’s term for the output of this method is the “Sought poem”, an apt term for “a process of aggressively looking for something, with the intent of enlisting it in some capacity”19. This “enlisting” signals clearly that Flarf is still a literary activity. Flarf enlists superabundant content and then squeezes it into recognizable literary forms: poems that are lineated, arranged in stanzas, and so on. “Maybe,” Mohammad writes, “sought poetry is a metrics after all”: a rigorous control of form that enables “accidents of theme”20.

All of the findables I’ve just mentioned have analogs in conceptual writing. Long-form blogging of texts like the Pepys’ diary project became a common trope in conceptual writing circles about three years ago; see, for example, Simon Morris and Nick Thurston’s 2009 piece Getting Inside Jack Kerouac’s Head21, in which they first blogged, then republished, all of On the Road, or Vanessa Place’s Twitter feed of fragments from Gone with the Wind22. Both the tricksterism and the holography of Arthur Dent’s 419-baiting find an analog in the practice of Kenneth Goldsmith, who has at various times positioned himself as both scammer and scammed. In an early article, “May We Graft Chicken Wings To Your Head in the Interest of Aviation,”23 he has written about the history of media pranking, and is currently working on a series of holograph manuscripts of historically significant manifestoes, such as The Communist Manifesto and the S.C.U.M. Manifesto. Like the Leila texts, Goldsmith has a series of letters that he has received since 1994 from people assuming – because of his role as WFMU DJ “Kenny G” – that he is the smooth-jazz musician Kenny G (b. Kenneth Gorelick)24. The Horse_ebooks Twitter feed is a sort of superior hybrid of Flarf and my two automated web projects with Bill Kennedy, The Apostrophe Engine25 and Status Update26, used to generate our books apostrophe27 and Update28.

It’s possible to “find” poetic effects in another text because of the inherently paragrammatic qualities of language. The most succinct definition of the paragram remains Julia Kristeva’s famous note from Revolution in Poetic Language: “A text is paragrammatic, writes Leon S. Roudiez, ‘in the sense that its organization of words (and their denotations), grammar, and syntax is challenged by the infinite possibilities provided by letters or phonemes combining to form networks of significations not accessible through conventional reading habits’”29. This effect has always existed outside of poetry, and has usually been considered as an amusement at best and an annoyance at worst. In one of his “Mathematical Games” columns from Scientific American, Martin Gardner relates the story of Adam Sedgwick, a Cambridge geologist, discovering a “buried poem” on page 44 of the first edition (1911) of William Whewell’s Elementary Treatise on Mechanics, and reciting it as an after-dinner speech:

            There is no force, however great,
Can stretch a cord, however fine,
Into a horizontal line,
Which is accurately straight.

Whewell, himself the author of two books of verse, was not impressed, and changed the text in the book’s second edition to eliminate the rhyme30.

Steve McCaffery expands on the notion of the paragram thoughout his critical writing, arguing that while findables and other sorts of paragrammatic phenomena can be intentionally embedded in a larger text, they are just as often fortuitious occurrences that arise inevitably and unavoidably because of the combinatory nature of writing31. McCaffery also specifies why a complete history of findables is technically impossible: “if form is, as Dennis Hollier proposes, ‘the temptation of discourse to arrest itself, to fix on itself, to finish itself off by producing and appropriating its own end’ (1989, 24), then the paragram stands as form’s heterological object, structured upon nonlogical difference and, as such, impossible to be claimed as an object of knowledge”32. Looking for findables, then, is a tactical negativity that affords a number of possible outcomes. McCaffery lists three: a sophisticated form of artistic production (as in the Surrealist objets trouvé); an opportunity for found texts to become something like a critical or theoretical practice (as in Readymades, Situationist détournement or the work of Bern Porter, found poet par excellence); or a reaffirmation of negativity that equates all meaning with the experience of loss of signification (as in a general economy, or the work of Vanessa Place)33. The first two outcomes are the now-familiar tactics of the historical avant-gardes; the third is that of conceptual writing at its most uncompromising.

But I think that there is also a fourth possibility implicit in McCaffery’s schema that describes the current cultural moment: a system of commercial production that is more than capable of churning out an endless stream of commodifiable objects saturated with effects that were once the privileged provenance of poetry. To the extent that poetry – however traditional or however conceptual – functions in such an environment, it is as a kind of inoculation: poetry on the subway, National Poetry Month etc. as something “good for us” that we encounter so that we can be excused from actually buying books of poetry or attending poetry readings. From the perspective of people ignoring that .12 percent of poetry books purchased out of the total number of books published in Canada per year, there is no effective difference between the poetry world’s various squabbling factions.

Conceptual writing didn’t kill poetry any more than postmodernism killed the author. It displaced what counts in the economy of small-press literature, perhaps, in the same way that postmodernism changed the function of the author. But for all its displacements in terms of what counts as a culturally significant text, conceptual writing leaves its own authors largely intact, and oddly romantically inclined about their own effect on posterity.

As I write this, my friends are all very busy writing manifestoes in response to Johanna Drucker’s “Beyond Conceptualisms: Poetics after Critique and the End of the Individual Voice.” The contentious line, for many of them, is “Conceptualism is probably over now, even in its newest iterations”34. I believe that Drucker’s thesis is essentially correct, and read “over” as shorthand for a whole series of institutionalizations, transformations, affiliations and legitimations that not only interpellates conceptual writing as one stylistic choice among the many that are available to aspiring young poets, but points to the fact that so far, conceptual writing has had nothing interesting or useful to say about the findables that very likely preceded it and have definitely kept pace with it every step of the way. There’s no point in claiming findables for poetry; that trick is now at least a hundred years old. Whether or not conceptual writing gets a second kick at the can will depend on how it comes to grips with its own uncanny double on the outside of the poetic economy. Until then, it’s still back in the building with all the other Elvis fans, oblivious to the limousine driving into the sunset.


Carey, James W. Communication as Culture : Essays on Media and Society. Rev. ed. New York ; London: Routledge, 2009. Print.

Dent, Arthur. “Harry Potter and the Well of Scammers”.  2006.  419 Eater. March 31 2012. <>.

Dewdney, Christopher. Alter Sublime. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1980. Print.

Drucker, Johanna. “Beyond Conceptualisms: Poetics after Critique and the End of the Individual Voice”.  2012. Poetry Project Newsletter. April/May 2012. <>.

Eco, Umberto. A Theory of Semiotics. Advances in Semiotics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976. Print.

Foucault, Michel. Foucault Live: Interviews, 1961-1984. Semiotext(E) Double Agents Series. Ed. Lotringer, Sylvère. New York: Semiotext(e), Columbia U., 1996. Print.

Fresh Air. “To Read or Not to Read: Fresh Air Considers the State of Poetry in Canada”.  Toronto, 2011. Fresh Air.  April 11, 2011 (first aired April 9, 2011):  CBC Books. 2011. <>.

Gardner, Martin. “Mathematical Games: Puns, Palindromes and Other Word Games That Partake of the Mathematical Spirit.” Scientific American 211.3 (1964): 218-24. Print.

Goldsmith, Kenneth. “The Kenny G Letters”.  Electronic Poetry Center, 1999.  SUNY Buffalo. February 14 2012. <>.

—. “May We Graft Chicken Wings to Your Head in the Interest of Aviation”.  New York, 1995.  LCD. February 14 2012. <>.

—. “Paragraphs on Conceptual Writing.” Open Letter Twelfth series.7 (Fall 2005): 98-101. Print.

—. “Uncreativity as a Creative Practice”.  Buffalo, 2000.  Electronic Poetry Center (SUNY Buffalo). 11 November 2009 2009. <>.

Guillory, John. “The Memo and Modernity.” Critical inquiry 31 (2004): 108-32. Print.

Gyford, Phil. The Diary of Samuel Pepys. London2003. Vol. 2012. Print.

Kennedy, Bill, and Darren Wershler. “The Apostrophe Engine”.  Toronto, 2001. February 14 2012. <>.

—. “Status Update”.  Toronto, 2010. February 14 2012. <>.

—. Update. Ed. Fiorentino, Jon Paul. Montreal: Snare, 2010. Print.
Kennedy, Bill, and Darren Wershler-Henry. Apostrophe. Ed. Holmes, Michael. 2006.

Kristeva, Julia. Revolution in Poetic Language. 1974. Trans. Waller, Margaret. New York: Columbia University Press, 1984. Print.

McCaffery, Steve. North of Intention: Critical Writings 1973-1986. 1st ed. New York/Toronto: Roof Books/Nightwood Editions, 1986. Print.

—. Prior to Meaning: The Protosemantic and Poetics. Avant-Garde & Modernism Studies. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2001. Print.

McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Signet Books. 2nd ed. New York, Scarborough, Ont.: New American Library, 1964. Print.

Mohammad, K. Silem. “Sought Poems.” 88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry 3 (2003). Print.

Morris, Simon, and Nick Thurston. Getting inside Jack Kerouac’s Head. Dringhouses, York: Information As Material, 2009. Print.

Needleman, Rafe. “Richard Dreyfuss Reads the Itunes Eula”.  CNET Reporters’ Roundtable Podcast, June 8, 2011. MP3. March 31 2012.

Place, Vanessa. “Gone with the Wind Twitter Feed”.  Los Angeles. 14 February 2012. <!/VanessaPlace>.

Pound, Ezra. “Paris Letter: December 1921.” Dial LXXII.1 (1922): 73-78. Print.

Sales, Leila. “The Leila Texts”.  Brooklyn, 2007. March 31, 2012 2012. <>.

  1. Fresh Air, “To Read or Not to Read: Fresh Air Considers the State of Poetry in Canada,” April 11, 2011 (first aired April 9, 2011), 2011, CBC Books, Available: 

  2. Kenneth Goldsmith, “Uncreativity as a Creative Practice,” 2000, Electronic Poetry Center (SUNY Buffalo), Available:, 11 November 2009 2009. 

  3. Kenneth Goldsmith, “Paragraphs on Conceptual Writing,” Open Letter Twelfth series.7 (Fall 2005): 98 ff. 

  4. John Guillory, “The Memo and Modernity,” Critical inquiry 31 (2004): 111.
    [5] Guillory, “The Memo and Modernity,” 113. 

  5. Guillory, “The Memo and Modernity,” 113. 

  6. Guillory, “The Memo and Modernity,” 114. 

  7. Umberto Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, Advances in Semiotics. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976) 7. 

  8. Ezra Pound, “Paris Letter: December 1921,” Dial LXXII.1 (1922): 73. 

  9. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, Signet Books, 2nd ed. (New York, Scarborough, Ont.: New American Library, 1964) xi. 

  10. Christopher Dewdney, Alter Sublime (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1980) 77. 

  11. James W. Carey, Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society, Rev. ed. (New York ; London: Routledge, 2009) 27. 

  12. Michel Foucault, Foucault Live: Interviews, 1961-1984, Semiotext(E) Double Agents Series, ed. Sylvère Lotringer (New York: Semiotext(e), Columbia U., 1996) 46. 

  13. Phil Gyford, The Diary of Samuel Pepys (London: 2003), vol. 2012. 

  14. Arthur Dent, “Harry Potter and the Well of Scammers,” 2006, 419 Eater, Available:, March 31 2012. 

  15. Leila Sales, “The Leila Texts,” 2007,, Available:, March 31, 2012 2012. 


  17. Rafe Needleman, “Richard Dreyfuss Reads the iTunes EULA,” June 8, 2011, MP3,, March 31 2012. 

  18. K. Silem Mohammad, “Sought Poems,” 88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry 3 (2003): Non-paginated Word document. 

  19. Mohammad, “Sought Poems.” 

  20. Mohammad, “Sought Poems.” 

  21. Simon Morris and Nick Thurston, Getting inside Jack Kerouac’s Head (Dringhouses, York: Information As Material, 2009). 

  22. Vanessa Place, Gone with the Wind Twitter Feed, Available:!/VanessaPlace, 14 February 2012. 

  23. Kenneth Goldsmith, “May We Graft Chicken Wings to Your Head in the Interest of Aviation,” 1995, LCD, Available:, February 14 2012. 

  24. Kenneth Goldsmith, “The Kenny G Letters,” 1999, SUNY Buffalo, Available:, February 14 2012. 

  25. Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler, The Apostrophe Engine, 2001, Available:, February 14 2012. 

  26. Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler, Status Update, 2010, Available:, February 14 2012. 

  27. Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler-Henry, Apostrophe, ed. Michael Holmes (Toronto: ECW Press, 2006). 

  28. Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler, Update, ed. Jon Paul Fiorentino (Montreal: Snare, 2010). 

  29. Julia Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language, trans. Margaret Waller (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984) 256. 

  30. Martin Gardner, “Mathematical Games: Puns, Palindromes and Other Word Games That Partake of the Mathematical Spirit,” Scientific American 211.3 (1964): 220. 

  31. Steve McCaffery, North of Intention: Critical Writings 1973-1986, 1st ed. (New York/Toronto: Roof Books/Nightwood Editions, 1986) 208-09. 

  32. Steve McCaffery, Prior to Meaning: The Protosemantic and Poetics, Avant-Garde & Modernism Studies (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2001) 13. 

  33. McCaffery, Prior to Meaning, 14. 

  34. Johanna Drucker, “Beyond Conceptualisms: Poetics after Critique and the End of the Individual Voice,” 2012, Available:, April/May 2012. 

The Ethically Incomplete Intellectual

In between all of the baby-feeding and the moving and the new-job-starting, I made a little art. “The Ethically Incomplete Intellectual” is a broadside that was commissioned by the 2010 Scream Literary Festival (for their “Agents Provocateurs” theme) and designed by Andrew Faulkner and Leigh Nash of The Emergency Response Unit. The image is from a collaboration between RM Vaughan and Jared Mitchell. The text is the weaponized version of a paper that I wrote on the subject of that collaboration … a paper which will shortly be in print in Open Letter.

UPDATE: Print copies of this broadside are once again available from TERU’s Etsy Shop, but they won’t last forever. Which is sort of the point of making literary ephemera, anyway. I’ve attached a PDF of the highest quality version in my possession to this post (link below), which will look good on your screen, but doesn’t hold a candle to the genuine item.

The Ethically Incomplete Broadside

Writers of the World, Unclench: On Public Licensing

WOTWU is a five-point digital publishing manifesto about the benefits of public licensing systems like Creative Commons for writers. It originally appeared in the September/October 2003 issue of THIS magazine. The text was published under a Creative Commons Canada license, and, thanks to THIS, is attached below as a PDF of its original layout.

Writers of the World, Unclench

Feature image by zebble.