Thoughts on the Poetic Statement

One of the more exciting elements of this project (for us) is the poetic statement. This aspect of the anthology should be a prose statement by you about your writing, and it should be at least one page in length. The notion of a “poetics” or “poetics statement” can be interpreted in any number of ways, but here are a few thoughts we had about what it might be:

In her book Manifesto: A Century of Isms, Mary Ann Caws smartly and critically defines the “poetics” manifesto with a certain amount of appreciative ambivalence: “It can start out as a credo, but then it wants to make a persuasive move from the ‘I believe’ of the speaker toward the ‘you’ of the listener or reader, who should be sufficiently convinced to join in.” Balance this against Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s own comment that “’I’ is a heuristic; maybe a powerful one,” and some generative possibilities start to happen for what “poetics” might mean. Adrienne Rich, in A Human Eye, says, “Poetry springs from a nexus of individual and shared experience, above all an experience of location – geophysical realities, visible landscape, spaces marked out by religion, education and politics, poverty and wealth, gender and physiognomy, subordination and independence.”  And we would add race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, and perceived ability.  And then, Helene Cixious: “This is what writing is: I one language, I another language, and between the two, the line that makes them vibrate; writing forms a passageway between the two shores.”  Frank O’Hara’s “Personism: A Manifesto” might be one particularly energizing example of such a poetics statement.

Alright, maybe that makes it more confusing!  If you read this and you’re still looking for a place to begin, here are some questions you might play around with: 

What is your writing process like?

How do you think about or understand your poems?

How does your location influence, impact, shape, disrupt, derail, or determine your poetic work?

Why does this work come from your body?

How do you experience the act of reading and/or misreading text and how does this relate (or not) to the act(s) of reading and/or misreading the body?

What is something you always wanted to have happen?

What is a question you wish you were asked?

What are (your) poems made of?

What are (your) bodies made of?

Where/how/why/in what ways do you live in your work?



This is not an interview. 

We just handed you a ball of twine. There are buildings, bouncy balls, puddles to be made.

We just cannot wait to read your words!

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