Few living American poets have so thoroughly absorbed, and cleverly responded to, the avant-garde traditions in visual art and poetry - including Dada, Futurism, Concretism, Fluxus, and Conceptual Art - as Kenneth Goldsmith. With influences ranging from John Cage and Andy Warhol to contemporary hip hop and internet artists, Goldsmith has pushed the limits of late twentieth century poetics to both reinvigorate and pioneer aspects of visual poetry, sound poetry, the list poem, and digital poetics.
In addition to his writing, Goldsmith is also founding editor of UbuWeb, teaches Poetics and Poetic Practice at the University of Pennsylvania and is Senior Editor of PennSound. He hosted a weekly radio show at WFMU from 1995 until June 2010, and has published ten books of poetry. He is the author of a book of essays, Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in a Digital Age (2011).
Driven by a preoccupation with “Uncreativity as Creative Practice”, Goldsmith is essentially the habitual editor of one large project, contributing to both the study and practice of poetry as a writer, academic and as curator of the prolific archives at UbuWeb. His process, a series of writing and self-induced constraints has produced 600 pages of rhyming phrases, sorted by syllables and alphabetized. Goldsmith's practice embraces the performance of the writer as process and plagiarism as content.
As a teacher at University of Pennsylvania, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, Goldsmith’s syllabus includes “Uncreative Writing”, “Interventionist Writing”, and “Writing Through Art and Culture”, in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. Class tools are appropriation, theft, stealing, plundering and sampling. Cheating, fraud and identity theft are all encouraged. For Goldsmith the classroom, is a free space into which ethical queries can be conducted in a safe environment.
He was awarded the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow Professorship in American Studies at Princeton University in 2010.