Uncreative Writing

Kenneth Goldsmith is an author and English teacher in The University of Pennsylvania. He is a founding editor of the online archive Ubuweb. He read a poem at President Obama’s celebration of America Poetry at White House on May 11, 2011.  Coming to his writing that had influenced a few, especially his unimaginative creative writing workshop where students were asked to write in their own words, but in the style of their favorite author. He questioned: wouldn’t copying the author’s exact words, as well as his style, be even more effective?
Though in his book, Uncreative Writing, he writes” for the past several years I have taught the class at the University of Pennsylvania called” uncreative writing”. In it, students are penalized for showing any shred of originality and creativity. Instead, they are rewarded for plagiarism, identity theft, sampling, plundering, and stealing.
The topics that I have selected from the Goldsmith’s work and then search them on YouTube are Concrete poetry, Psychogeography, Situationist International, Conceptual Art, Detourned, Patchwriting, Flatland by Derek Beaulieu, the Xenu text experiment. But I have found some interesting comments on the links like some people are praising their works with graphics, some people wants to know how they did this type of work rouge by Henri Chopin’s and five tangential videos related to Goldsmith’s work.
I want to define uncreative meaning as not your creation and more to do with words like shared, riffed and stolen, recycle duplicated and numerous others like words. In brief, it means copying/ cheating other work and presents it as yours. I agree the digital world is changing the literary world rapidly as one can copy, edited, remixed, reusing, repurposing and regurgitating all become themes through uncreative writing. After new media lifted the restriction on writing as stealing other words/ ideas and claiming one’s own for acknowledgment is on. Uncreative writing has put an idea in my mind also that for ease of writing and getting praise copying few paragraphs to complete my work would be okay. But I never resort to this method in my academic writings except selecting few heavyweight words to put more essence in my writing.

Although uncreative writing offers new ways of thinking about uniqueness and the making of meaning. And also in exploring the various ways uncreative writing can be imagined. They are also some disadvantages to it as being uncreative doesn’t ensure that your work will be accepted by the people and you won’t be facing any criticism. There are some people in this world who don’t support this cut and paste work. You have to work within your limitations, as a student, you have to be careful because most of the institutions don’t accept this type of uncreatively.


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