Thursday, March 30, 2006

M WORD

Non-Manifesto

Maybe it's because I am a woman, but I've noticed that most poetry manifestos are written and bandied about by men. Maybe it's because I am a mom, but manifestos seem akin to my three-year-old's rants, and my six-year-olds nonsensical arguments behind why she will not eat what is on her plate. Maybe it is because I have a life, but manifestos seem to be a waste of time.

So here I am, writing a non-manifesto. This could also be seen as a waste of time. But my children are watching TV, the laundry is going, I'm on Spring Break from teaching, and the coffee is still hot (ok, so I don't really have much of a life). But I feel compelled to follow through on a thought: this bothersome idea that something detrimental is being done to poetry today when lines are drawn and schools (I picture little plastic armies) are formed.

I have much more to learn about poetry. While I do, isn't it okay to enjoy the architectural non-commitment of LangPo, then follow up with some Quietude? Remember, I'm a mom, quiet is far from a bad word. Can't I experience a poem just for its sounds and images, and then turn to a narrative poem for a good story with closure?

I realize that it is important to understand the poets and even schools that came before, so you can explore those influences and find your place within (or without). But why limit yourself to one school, one type of poetry? Why draw boundaries with little plastic army men?

Coffee's cold now, gotta go.

5 Comments:

Blogger Pris said...

Amen, mama! I've grown so weary of those blogs arguing about what poems belong in which school and why one school is better than another. Enough, already. I, too, just want to enjoy the darn poem.

10:12 AM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger reniebob said...

"School" and "poetry" shouldn't even be used in the same sentence, imo. :)

12:43 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Marsha said...

Interesting thought. I like poetry. I like running across an unknown author with something to say. Of course, what is usually being said has to do with loosing a love or some sort. Just a note, I didn't particularly like poetry when I was in school. Probably because I had no idea what the author was trying to say.

2:16 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Pris - your manifesto could be titled "just enjoy the darn poem" - you're right - lots of arguing.

I wonder how they started calling them schools of poetry to begin with Irene?

Hi Madie - welcome!

7:43 AM, March 31, 2006  
Blogger reniebob said...

I think it comes from typical writer procrastination: instead of actually doing the hard work of our own writing, let's analyze others' instead. And call them names! And tell them why they're not worthy!
Okay, I obviously have issues in this department. I believe everyone has something valuable to say that only that person can express in that particular way, making his/her work invaluable whether or not it fits in a "school" or is well-regarded by such schools. It's not a competition, or at least it doesn't have to be. Why can't we just all celebrate the urge to create and express, even if it differs from our own way of creating/expressing???

12:44 PM, March 31, 2006  

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