Sunday, March 29, 2009

Poem According To World

I’ve been asked what each poem and world are made of and might start here

and might end they are made of the same thing which is text

Poetry should avoid using that should avoid accusation as a poem is the guiltiest thing there is. Poems are cannibals, but they’re sorry.

You might be worried I think poems aren’t made of language.

No worries. Poems are made of language.

Do you think you’d know a cranberry seeing it for the first time without language? I’d say no. Then I’d gather all the red things and crush them into paint to show you and feel sorry. Because the cranberry would be gone.

At least you’d recognize the color. Do you think a cranberry intends to be a cranberry?

Let’s say Mother made the cranberry. Now what? Let’s say I’m writing this.

If we assume everything is simultaneously mother and mothered, how might a poem made of language indicate that without upsetting its conscience? How might a woman

You might be worried I think women are poems.

While women were once made of poems, most have realized poems are cannibals and are asking for their parts back.

But like I said, poems have consciences now.

A poem with a conscience realizes it shares material with the world and does not take without giving back. A poem with a conscience acknowledges the mother while rearranging the mothered’s skins on its back. A poem might spare the heart, a lymph node for instance.


  1. I love that you've taken a creative approach to the manifesto and that the lines of said creative piece are blurry and flow together almost seamlessly.

    I'm particularly interested in the section on women and mothering. I may be a little off-base, but from what I understand, poems are:

    1. Everywhere and not necessarily limited to texts.

    2. Not entirely possible without language and text.

    3. Should avoid accusatory tones, be discreet.

    4. Reflect on the fact that everything is "mother and mothered simultaneously."

    I like the connection between womanhood and poetry, how poetry should be discreet, aware of itself, and almost apologetic. There's a strong connection here, it seems, between the attributes of the traditional feminine gender role and what poetry either should be or is expected to be.

    A poem should learn to shoulder its delicate traditional role (acknowledging its origins, aka the mother) and pave a new way at the same time. I like the "hats off to the past, but welcome to the future" undertones this manifesto brings to the table. I think it's very healthy (or as healthy as can be where poetry is concerned--I think you allude to the fact that it isn't always in your reference to cannibals) and relatively balanced.

    I'm just a little confused where the "according to" preposition comes in to play, but this is probably due to me overlooking something key. I'd love to hear more about it in person.

  2. this is great. I like the fragmented bits and the illustration of the sorryness of a poem. Poems are guilty, poems take things and destroy them to show them to you, and they're sorry after, but it's what has to happen so that you know what they know.

    that's what I got out of it. then poems are mother and mothered, take but give back (which was essentially happening in the first place, just described more violently) but they're aware of it now.

    this is my favorite part

    How might a woman

    You might be worried I think women are poems.

    While women were once made of poems, most have realized poems are cannibals and are asking for their parts back.

    were women made of poems, as steph suggests, because poems have a traditional role (as women did) that they were forced into? I am a little confused about this conflation.

    I like that poems are cannibals, to the end.

  3. ashley--

    i'm fascinated by the violence of your manifesto. Of course i'm reading some of that violence from the poem-as-cannibal, but the destruction you see as neccessary (or the taking), for the act of creation is really interesting--the cranberry was a great example.

    I also like the added diemension of the poems regreting their actions, but it seems like they can't be anything other than a dissective (i may have just made that word up) force. A little bit it reminds me of Thoreau's eagle.

    I know you're aware the structure of this disjointed works well, but i wanted to say i like it. the only thing that i'm not quite sure how to fit into the scheme of things is how mothers used to be poems, but aren't now. I can see wy the don't want to be poems, just not what you mean by they used to be.

    interesting. the beginning lines reminded me of in the pines.