In an MFA seminar at The New School, poet Keri Smith asked us all what we felt the poet’s duty was. Answers varied. When it was my turn to speak, I made a big deal about being wary of the question. Then I answered it.
I think this is a tension worth exploring: skepticism of definitions coupled with the simultaneous urge to define anyway.
Scattered throughout my notebooks and the various Word docs I use to store as-yet unplaced text fragments are numerous small entries beginning “Poetry is/isn’t/should/does/doesn’t/can’t/could/etc.” Often these tenets contradict one another. Sometimes they overlap. Always they are reflections of my current mood and obsessions and whichever poet I read last. Never are they the categorical imperatives they aspire to be. That’s okay. I keep writing them anyway.
This work is not only about productive tension; it is also about free play – the pursuit of an impossible goal for the hell of it.
Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Try to keep submissions to 2-3 sentences. This is not a rule. Recurring & multiple submissions encouraged. There is no lifetime limit.
Your name (or pseudonym, if that’s your thing) will be attached to each of your entries. I’ll link to your social media accounts/website/whatever, if you’d like. I won’t take credit for your contributions, and I would love to point any readers we manage to attract in your direction.
In the spirit of openness and against gatekeeping, I will try to accept every submission I receive. Submissions that seem in bad faith will be rejected. Ditto nonsensical submissions, unless the nonsense is nifty in some way. Submissions that re- or paraphrase previous entries will also be nixed. Even a collaborative manifesto must avoid repeating itself.
Rulebreaking is always interesting to me.