I didn’t even realise – my spam poems have a defined genre “spamoetry”. (or spam art). 

This being a form, or a development from, cut-ups

Well, it’s good to learn new stuff – and brilliant when you discover something for yourself first.  Not that I needed validation but good to know the artist inside has such scope.

Thanks to Christ Almond and a chance stumbling onto their blog for the breadcrumb trail of introduction to cut ups.

I’ve just scratched the surface – just I’ve the scratched surface. 😉


  1. I am fascinated by your discovery / invention of a form of literary web art. The idea of taking spam e-mail, a material almost universally regarded as worthless junk, and turning it alchemically to poetic gold, is a great one.

    Your posts crop up regularly as I browse the collected output of this wonderful community, and I have at last taken the opportunity to explore your site properly. It practically fizzes with invention – so many varied media! I love the fact that your work seems so casual, never overworked, and yet the expressions of your ideas have such a beautiful poetic quality. You could say I am now a fan.

    I would also like to say thanks for directing my attention to the awesome resource that is UbuWeb. I don’t quite know how to say just yet how incredibly rich and helpful a source of material I’m sure that amazing web site will turn out to be. It was a surprise to read in their article on Burroughs and Gysin’s early cut-up discoveries of a prescribed method, that of dividing the page into four quarters and swapping part 1 with 4 and 2 with 3, as that is the method I most frequently use. Maybe that is just the simplest way to proceed. Clearly, too much hesitancy or consciousness in the cutting process is surely not wanted.

    Your own cut-up poems, like all examples of the genre, yield no information about the process that informed them. I’m interested to know, do you apply an editorial sensibility, perhaps by subtly refining the results of random juxtapositions, or do you just publish pieces as they fall, in this case, into your inbox?

    I had been wondering why I was clinging on to so much spam mail (I delete amounts of it only every few months) and now I find I have the materials with which to compose a Spamoem of my own. I hope you like it.

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  3. Christ Almond

    Thank you for your kind words and encouragement 🙂 You made my day.

    I love your Progress? spam poem. I laughed, I hesitated, I read with wide eyes and full heart. Isn’t it amazing that junk can be recycled into such beauty? And that the junk doesn’t even exist in a physical way that can be touched.

    I’m so happy it’s something that has captured you.

    I’m in early dabbling days with all my forms of artistic expression. As for my spam poetry I actually used three slightly different approaches for my first three poems.

    My first – her as a product – I collected random subjects (but ones which attracted me) from my spam folder over a couple of weeks. My interest is in the spams with rather poetic sounding subjects, often 3 or 4 random words. Then I did a little bit of editing and arranging of the lines and used bridging words between lines.

    The second and third I wrote (compiled?) in one sitting. I had about a months worth of spam – so rich pickings! I trawled through my spam copying subjects that appealed (again mainly the random poetic types).

    The second poem – Which or Ruckus – felt much more engineered. I decided to try and get it to rhyme! It was quite painful! But in the end I was quite pleased and largely it dictated itself with some guidance from me.

    The third – Go it bursty – I freed up a bit. Using a selection from the copied phrases I had over, grouping some like phrases – but mainly looking to build a sense of drama from the sound.

    I think 🙂

    I’d love to be brave enough to write spamoetry in the order it comes to me – but my mini artist inside won’t let me. She wants more glitz and order.

    I’ve started working on something I call Frankeinstory some time ago but have yet to finish to my satisifaction. The aim to take one sentence from each chapter of Frankenstein to write a new story. It’s not my favourite book in the word so I thought I could make my own monster which I could enjoy 😉

    I thought it would be possible to write many different stories – but me and Frankenstein don’t get on – I find it dry and long-winded. Anyway – hopefully I can find enough brain power to finish it and post it up sometime. Or hope that when I revisit it it’s more interesting than I thought and effort is not what is required!

    It is available as an e-book for free along with many other classics – so potentially lots of material.

    Thanks again – I feel newly inspired 🙂

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