Kenneth Goldsmith

Meet MoMA's new poet

New York's Museum of Modern Art appoints Phaidon contributor and traffic broadcast transcriber as its first poet

They've bought computer games and flat-packed kitchens, and so it should come as no surprise that MoMA has widened its brief out to include the written word by appointing its first poet laureate.
News reached us this week that the 51-year-old New York poet, artist and Phaidon contributor, Kenneth Goldsmith has been named as the museum's inaugural poet.
Goldsmith, who trained as a sculptor before turning to writing, is perhaps best-known for reading at the 2011 White House Celebration of American Poetry. However, don't expect any comparisons to a summer's day from this poet. Goldsmith pioneers "uncreative writing" – as he terms it – or the appropriation and presentation of everyday broadcasts and exchanges as poetry. His 2007 publication, Traffic, was composed from the transcripts of local radio traffic reports, while Soliloquy (2001) reproduces every word Goldsmith spoke over a week.

These might sound like simple art pranks, yet The London Review of Books heralds works by Goldsmith and his fellow “uncreative” writers as representative of “a new frontier in poetic art” while America's Poetry Foundation's is delighted by his new appointment. We certainly think Goldsmith is great, and can only add to MoMA's artistic prowess.  


The poet promises to host “guerilla readings” at MoMA –  writers Rick Moody, David Shields, and Charles Bernstein are rumoured to be taking part – though visitors after a more formal introduction should book tickets for the poet's MoMA talk, scheduled for March 20, entitled "My Career in Poetry, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Institution".
For more on Goldsmith watch the video above, and for some of his writing, consider our Giant Size Warhol book, which features a text by the poet.