The Arts and Literature

Does literature inspire art, or does art inspire literature? That’s easy to answer–art and literature inspire each other. I recently ran across a new form of poetry called “Flarf.” According to, “Flarf is the poetry of Googled search terms.” I would like to broaden the definition to include any search term instead of Google exclusively.

I find this form of poetry interesting in that it takes a snapshot of an individual’s or groups’ thoughts, and tells a little about culture and society. Here is an example of a Flarf:

Riddles; is curry an acid or a base; are dreads sexy; the difference between a sea and an ocean; fish that clean other fish; the life and times of Scrooge McDuck; what’s my zip code; where does the money go? -By Kate Dawson and Ori Barbut, from ‘Searchbar History Vol. 1’

It would be very interesting to look at what a librarian searches, especially those at the reference desk because you never know what questions are around the corner. The difference would be fewer normal language phrases such as “is curry an acid or a base.” My Flarf as a librarian might look something like this:

The Journal of Communication; United States and advertising; bandwidth shapers; Doing Justice; The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison; Prison; Prison; The Abandoned Ones…

It is kind of poetic, isn’t it? While we are talking about art, how about cover art of books? investigated historical cover art for a few well-known science fiction books. Among the books investigated are 1985, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Day of the Triffids, War of the Worlds, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (there were some great illustrations for this book). Take a look at these if you have a chance.


About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on November 19, 2009, in Art and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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