My Poetic Manifesto

Hello!  It appears the snow has stopped, though there’s still a bunch of wind, so there’s a bunch of drifting.  We can’t open our backdoor at all.  And I guess we didn’t have front stops this morning.  There’s a wee bit of snow around.  I also guess its getting down below zero tonight, so we have to shovel before dark lest we not be able to shovel at all.

I haven’t talked about poetry in a long time…wait until April!  I’ll be doing the poem a day challenge.  Hopefully I won’t be burned out on poetry anymore.  Its been so hard for me to write poetry the past couple months.  I wrote poetry all last year, I guess I needed a bit of a break.  But April is National Poetry Month, so poetry will start up again.  Hooray.

I figure every once and awhile I can show you some of my old assignments from college.  Especially if they’re interesting.  Also if I’m having trouble figuring out what to write.  Or if they’re weird and convoluted.  Which this one is.

Poetic Manifesto

In ENG307 (advanced poetry writing workshop), part of our final exam was to write our own poetic manifesto.  What we enjoy in poetry, what we strive for in poetry, what poetry is to us.  It was the last part of my final and it was rather late at night when I was writing it.  Like most writers, I work well under pressure.  This is the product of that.So I’m supposed to make a poetic manifesto.  I like images and figurative language.  And a lot of them.  They make pretty poems to me.  I think poems need to be unique and innovative, but holding on to some traditions.  There is nothing wrong with form.  Play around with form!  Form is fun!  Sometimes.  But only if the poem wants it.
Poems have the ability to become something.  Sometimes the poems wither and die before they have a chance to really take flight, but if they don’t die, if they aren’t cut, they can be whatever they want to be.  Yes, I’m talking like the poem is a living thing.  Why not?  My fictional characters feel like real people to me, why shouldn’t a poem feel just as real?
I think the poem should have a bit of the author in them.  The author is a nerd?  Some nerdy poetry never hurt anyone.  The author is an athlete?  Write a poem about playing that sport.  Using personal experience opens doors in poetry.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be confessional, but personal experience can make the poem just specific enough to be relatable.  It’ll share your experience.  Maybe it will allow you to move on from that experience.
Surrealism isn’t a bad thing either.  A touch of weird in a poem can be a good thing.  It can give it that unique edge that it needs to stand out among other poems.  Throw in a cow with pink pajamas.  Throw in a kamehameha (if reference is lost, look up Dragonball Z).  But only if the poem wants them.

Perfect poetic inspiration

Modernism isn’t all that great.  It is plain and caters to things.  While there is nothing inherently wrong with things, the problem is in the plainness.  Plain diction is okay, but poetry that is just plain is not okay.  Poetry needs some spice to it, and that spice is figurative language and imagery.

Write about everything.  Write about breakfast and dinner.  Write about that person that you really hate.  Write about the class you dislike.  Write about the terrifying dream you had.  Write about how your sister’s friends were killed by a train.  Write about it all.  It will allow you to write different things and never burn out.  Write what you feel.  But avoid sparkling vampires, they make real vampires upset.
Let the poem be its own entity.  Once you write enough, you will be able to hear what the poem needs to be successful.  It will tell you.  It will tell you when it doesn’t need to change anymore.  Or if it was wrong and it does need some more ideas.  It will grow with time.
In conclusion, write what you feel, what you experience, all that jazz.  Don’t be too plain, use the spice of imagery and figurative language to strengthen your poems (I don’t want to say cook it because I said poems were their own entity and cooking them would be killing them!).  Just let them grow.


My only conclusion is that I’m insane.  However, I think I have some points in the rambling insanity that is my manifesto.  I really am against modernism.  I like to write about emotions and experience.  Modernism has the whole “no ideas but in things”, so we really don’t mesh.

This is how I view poetry.  I would never force this onto someone else, that’s not how I am.  This does give a brief glance into my mind (which is a scary place!).  I hope that my views on poetry can help you develop your own poetic manifesto.

What do you look for in poetry?


All images found on Google Image Search.


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