poetics statement 2021
What am I trying to do? What am I trying to avoid? What do I value?
what do I want to write? why? what matters? what do I want to read?
Is it still process not product? Whereas before I wanted to break systems of thought, habits and associations and what passed for sense, I was wracked by the false narratives surrounding me and therefore against the vehicle of narrative. I am no longer trying to distract and swim out of swamps of depression that would, stinkily, drown me. I like the humbleness and the non-preciousness of what Phil Hall calls assemblage. Effectiveness depends on what you choose to assemble of course.
When I was eliciting response from prompts and search strings of corpus of notes, centos, scrabble, and random chance operations, I held that whatever appeals to you reveals a mind map without the humiliation of sharing. unique gems from the uniboob of unisex unicorn’s union at the university of Universal Flicker doesn’t exactly have all the oomph if could. It does have precision that meandering a woodland feeling clouds and grief doesn’t.
Poetry is a trauma response. Or it is doodles when between places. It is a way of coping or exploring. It is play as performance. It is humour. Poetry can cover both bases or hurt and joke. It is a way to get your head & hands around a ball that seems to mean and toss it towards others who might want to examine it. It is baseball being reinvented by mimes.
Poetry can self-traumatize or give time and space for gaining more deep and wide perspective. it can be witness. It can be wetness. it can be whiteness that needs to be called to account.
What dives my poetics now? I want to connect. I want to embrace my weirdness and translate it enough to be meaningful to others. I want a space, as ever, where I can process the overload of signals.
I don’t want to read poetry that dwells in its sadness and grief. I want to read and make a poetry that is a mandala of everything. Room for tenderness and bitterness, fear and jubilation and bad puns.
I want my poetry to be succinct, and unfolding, whether direct and short, or oblique, such as the way, Ross Gay’s Be Holding: A Poem is a book that loops around the experience of being Black in America, dissecting in fractions of seconds implications, kneading it, incorporating in more flour, kneading.
In The Haiku Life: What We Learned as Editors of Frogpond by Michele Root-Bernstein and Francine Banwarth (Modern Haiku Press, 2017), the editors concluded that the best haiku had LIFE in their syllables. L for language that surprises. I for imagery that is fresh. F for form that functions and E for elusiveness that engages the imagination.
Not a bad metric for any poetry. I want to read what I have not already read. I want to write what seems to matter. I want to discern with poetry, find core things of this new core of where I am now. I want to admit my inner workings and move and change.
What use if poetry if it has no effect? I don’t mean effect like being on the tongues of the people like Mariah Carey or Jagged Little Pill or Mao’s red book.
I want to write to not hide, to amplify what people should know. I want to fall short of my ideals so I can see how to do better. I want to see new angles. (Examine in the round, again see Ross Gay.)
Although my ego is reduced by being bodychecked by the mint that died (who can kill mint? It’s as tough as waterbears!) I want to engage with other poets, reading and reflecting on what they learned, their techniques secondarily. I want to have 5 more trade poetry collections published and a selected. Mostly I want to stay in the game, not being jaded, but excited to where time moves but I am lost in it again.
I want the act of doing. The cat is rightly sure, people doing things is more interesting than sitting at a computer. She also is a firm advocate of naps. Sensible enough since poetry is extremes, but also grounding balance. It is movement between,
Poetry is cleaning the fridge when a block of cheese drops to the fastest, happiest, most stubborn dog and deciding you need to go after what is yours even if someone else has claimed it first. It’s yours to snag back.
How to zero in on what is compelling precisely. Feeling for the charge. And poking away, giving time to see what shakes out.