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Comic Poetics of Imaginative Travel in Your Country Is Great

Comic Poetics of Imaginative Travel in Your Country Is Great Abstract: Adapting Jahan Ramazani’s concept of imaginative travel to contemporary conceptual poetics, this article argues that Ara Shirinyan’s Your Country Is Great (2008) presents a canny vision of travel and identity in a global, digital age. Shirinyan uses a plagiaristic method to compose his poems, repeatedly Google-searching the phrase “(country) is great” and building poems from the results. For some, the result has seemed a flattening of language and of transnational experience, but I argue instead that Shirinyan provokes the reader’s laughter and delight to confront her with her own complicity in cross-cultural appropriation. The comic tone of Shirinyan’s work, I argue, has been characteristic of contemporary “uncreative writing,” conceptualism, and Flarf. Shirinyan’s work, moreover, can be understood in a historical tradition of comic representations of cross-cultural experience, which brazenly preempt suspicious reading by knowingly showcasing their problematic, appropriative, and offensive aspects. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Studies Penn State University Press

Comic Poetics of Imaginative Travel in Your Country Is Great

Comparative Literature Studies , Volume 51 (1)

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1528-4212
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: Adapting Jahan Ramazani’s concept of imaginative travel to contemporary conceptual poetics, this article argues that Ara Shirinyan’s Your Country Is Great (2008) presents a canny vision of travel and identity in a global, digital age. Shirinyan uses a plagiaristic method to compose his poems, repeatedly Google-searching the phrase “(country) is great” and building poems from the results. For some, the result has seemed a flattening of language and of transnational experience, but I argue instead that Shirinyan provokes the reader’s laughter and delight to confront her with her own complicity in cross-cultural appropriation. The comic tone of Shirinyan’s work, I argue, has been characteristic of contemporary “uncreative writing,” conceptualism, and Flarf. Shirinyan’s work, moreover, can be understood in a historical tradition of comic representations of cross-cultural experience, which brazenly preempt suspicious reading by knowingly showcasing their problematic, appropriative, and offensive aspects.

Journal

Comparative Literature StudiesPenn State University Press

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