The Library

Spam: Email Inspired Poems

By Ben Myers
Published by Blackheath Books

Already known around these parts as a journalist, label owner (of the recently closed Captains Of Industry) and novelist, Spam: Email Inspired Poems is Ben Myers’ debut poetry collection.

Saving rather than discarding those insane spam e-mails that we’ve all been the recipients of, Myers has ‘remixed‘ the words within the many unwanted mails advertising viagra, sex toys, Russian brides and Nigerian bank accounts to create a new poetic form. Actually, spam poetry has been around online for nearly ten years now, but this is the first known printed collection.

The results are both poignant and poetic, unnerving and evocative. Comparisons of this surreal collection are hard to draw upon, but there are certain similarities to the ‘cut-up‘ technique of William Burroughs’ writing (also later adopted by David Bowie) and the lyrics of Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In / The Mars Volta, whose self-created lexicon of made-up words and twisted imagery captures the imagination in similar ways.

More than anything though it seems like an utterly modern approach to writing, where modern technology collides with traditional literature and where adverts and previous works are reinvented, re-cycled and twisted into new shapes.

Myers tells us that the book did have the working title of Increase The Size Of Your Penis but was worried that “people might think it was a self-help manual, then ask for a re-fund when their penis remained like a button mushroom.”

Reading it, there is no such confusion. All copies of this limited edition book are hand-made by the publisher and signed and number by the author. You can watch a short film about its creation here.

Or you can buy a copy of Spam: Email Inspired Poems for £5 from here.

Henry Cutmore