Taking Literary Minimalism to Its Endpoint

This is another item that I am re-posting from Futility Closet (www.futilitycloset.com). It is re-posted with the permission of Greg Ross, who maintains the site. You can have daily updates from the site delivered to your e-mail each morning.



In a Word:


n. a musical or literary work of small size

In 1965 poet Aram Saroyan wrote a poem consisting of a single word, lighght. George Plimpton included it in the American Literary Anthology, and Saroyan received a $500 cash award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Perhaps to mock this, in 1972 Dave Morice published Matchbook, a literary magazine whose inch-square pages were stapled inside working matchbooks. Edited by the fictional Joyce Holland, each issue featured nine one-word poems submitted by contributors.


apocatastasis (Allen Ginsberg)

borken (Keith Abbott)

cerealism (Fletcher Copp)

cosmicpolitan (Morty Sklar)

embooshed (Cinda Wormley)

gulp (Pat Paulsen)

Joyce (Andrei Codrescu)

meeeeeeeeeeeeee (Duane Ackerson)

puppylust (P.J. Casteel)

sixamtoninepm (Kit Robinson)

underwhere (Carol DeLugach)

zoombie (Sheila Heldenbrand)

The longest submission, Trudi Katchmar’s whahavyagotthasgudtareedare, appeared as a foldout.


My previous re-posts from Futility Closet have included:

“But Should It Cound toward Promotion and Tenure”: https://academeblog.org/2013/05/21/but-would-it-count-toward-promotion-and-tenure/

“Another Item of Ironic Scholarship from Futility Closet”: https://academeblog.org/2013/05/26/another-item-on-ironic-scholarship-from-futility-closet/

“Odd Library Subject Headings”: https://academeblog.org/2013/06/03/odd-library-subject-headings/

“Herein Lies Another Route to Madness”: https://academeblog.org/2013/06/07/herein-lies-yet-another-route-to-madness/

“How-To Books That Make One Wonder Why”: https://academeblog.org/2013/06/18/how-to-books-that-make-one-wonder-why/

“Higher Ed’s Version of the Great Imposter”: https://academeblog.org/2013/06/20/higher-eds-version-of-the-great-impostor/

“ A Significant Portion of Someone’s Life Was Devoted to Writing Each of These Books”: https://academeblog.org/2013/08/26/a-significant-portion-of-someones-life-was-devoted-to-writing-each-of-these-books/

“Making Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow a Little Less Mundane”: https://academeblog.org/2013/08/19/making-yesterday-today-and-tomorrow-a-little-less-mundane/

“Parsing the Paradoxical Nature of Politics”: https://academeblog.org/2013/12/09/parsing-the-paradoxical-nature-of-politics/

“The Pyramid Cemetery”: https://academeblog.org/2013/12/23/the-pyramid-cemetery-a-historical-anecdote-with-the-resonance-of-a-parable/

“How to Make the Case for an Article’s Publication”: https://academeblog.org/2013/12/27/how-to-make-the-case-for-an-articles-publication/#more-5380

“Plagiarism and Cryptomnesia”: https://academeblog.org/2014/01/02/plagiarism-and-cryptomnesia/

4 thoughts on “Taking Literary Minimalism to Its Endpoint

  1. Pingback: A Postscript to One-Word Poems: A Poem without Words—from the Academe Archives No Less | Academe Blog

  2. Pingback: It Was Never an Either/Or Choice, but Was the Mutilation of the Stacks Worse than the Abandonment of the Stacks? | Academe Blog

  3. Pingback: Bad Writing as a Momentary Source of Joy, Rather Than a Reason for Prolonged Disdain, Disgust, or Despair | Academe Blog

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