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Topic: Bill Kennedy

Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler-Henry's apostrophe

Thirteen years ago Toronto poet Bill Kennedy wrote an apostrophe, a poem in a series of statements meant to address absent people, ideas, or entities as though actually present. The piece amounted to a lengthy group of “you are” lines of an increasingly bizarre, obscure and allusive nature: “you are a pretense to universality,” “you are a B- grade on a C paper,” “you are a piece of performance art that deep down inside wants to be a bust of Beethoven sitting on a Steinway grand piano,” running the gamut from high to low culture, from Robert Southey to Robert Plant. Some years later, he and fellow poet Darren Wershler-Henry created a Web site that could trawl the Web seeking out other “you are” statements. When each of the original lines was inputted, the ‘apostrophe engine,’ as they call it, would amass an entirely new poem comprised of “you are” lines. The outcome is apostrophe, a highly entertaining and truly innovative book that operates with a panopticon view of the Web, removing sentences from their sources and jamming them together.