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What Does It Matter: Brian Kim Stefans

What Does It Matter
Brian Kim Stefans

“My “Nineties” is that of the “new economy,” my London is New York City (particularly Williamsburg), my Lionel Johnson is Alan Davies, and my haircuts not the pre-Raphaelite locks of a Dante Gabriel Rosetti or Algernon Swinburne but the practical buzz-cut of, oh, Miles Champion? John Cayley? Darren Wershler-Henry?” —Brian Kim Stefans, from Free Space Comix

£4.00, ISBN 978-1-903488-48-5, June 2005

Out of Print

Author Biography

Brian Kim Stefans is the author of the books of poems Free Space Comix (1998), Gulf (1998) and Angry Penguins (2000).  Fashionable Noise: On Digital Poetics, a mixed-genre collection of poems, experimental essays and an interview, appeared in 2003 from Atelos.  Recent chapbooks include “Poem Formerly Known As ‘Terrorism’,” “Jai-Alai for Autocrats,” “Cull,” and “Window Ordered to be Made.”  He edits, devoted to new media poetry and poetics, and is a frequent critic for the Boston Review and other publications.  A book of his critical writing, Before Starting Over, is slated to appear in late 2005 from Salt Publishing.  He also edited the /ubu series of pdfs at, and is now a student of Electronic Writing at Brown University.

More about Brian Kim Stefans»


Modern Love
Flipping slap-happy from one purple pose to another,
the techno-fusion drones, some dehydrating drug
frames it – one argot-like name deranged for "schizophrenic" other,
she, though, had eyes for an audience,
had acquired the moniker Her Videoness Avatar, in a dream
- she’s clumsy on manic ankles, revising Beckett;
the avenue was suggesting Pasha, and with focus he arrived,
out of a screen, subjectively – dubious, barely audible
over the crackle of World War II headphones, mincing slogans
cryptic and fuelled, and very faux-Latinate;
when they finally marry HVA and Pasha, they are near-dead, or
the better word might be, for the canon, reptilian
- bold, cool blooded, but they nonetheless spark a relationship
through email, in the humid, bull days of August,
and one day decide to visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.


Praise for Brian Kim Stefans’ Fashionable Noise: On Digital Poetics: “Noise is far from being mere linguistic waste or excess. It is many things in Stefan’s text: the stuff and matter of language on the cusp of symbolic meaning, the non- or posthuman aspects of new media writing, algorithm itself and its fragmentary, found, chance-selected sources. This is ‘noise’ as the representation of a downgraded but integral aspect of signification. Noise gains rights in this context because the entire world of language is the poet and writer’s proper (if potential) palette – not those few notes plucked out of the soundscape by convention and tradition, but everything from letters to their dreamlife, from noise to silence. Because new media make poetic noise fashionable, it becomes impossible for artists to ignore these admittedly fashionable ways of ‘making it new’.” —John Cayley, writing in Metamute

“Less a programmatic critical volume than an improvisatory, searching look at a still-nascent form, Stefans's ruminations, exhortations, gags ("Th plug may be puld any day on cultur; th poem must be prepared") and excitations comprise a print take that is closest to the online world's free-wheeling sense of formal inquiry, semi-disposable experimentation and ardently utopian possibility. Stefans's two major cyberworks, "The Naif and the Bluebells" and "The Dreamlife of Letters," are easily locatable online, as is his multi-author political blog, Circulars. With more ideas per page than most poets put into entire books, Stefans (Free Space Comix) provides a provisional, wickedly smart and goofily joyous lay of a land that is still being discovered-and created from scratch.” —Publisher’s Weekly, 2003

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