Let Me Think That For You

Let Me Think That For You is an ongoing collaborative manifesto that answers the question “How should poetry be?” with an enthusiastic “We don’t know, but we’d like to go on about it forever.”

Uncredited entries are my own.

(Explanation & Submission Info)

1.

I try to write poetry that runs my head through a filter of gut.

2.

Prankishness is a literary virtue. Why suffer through handsome Apollo’s frat party when Dionysus leads a secret perpetual freak parade down every blasted street?

3.

I’m not sure what poetry is or should be, but I go to the page in search of a real-time analysis of my life. Poetry helps me piece together the fragments and reminds me what it means to be human. It’s the one place I can present all of my flaws. That said, I do not think writing poetry or engaging in the act of writing is in any way therapeutic. Quite the opposite at times.

(Hillary Ferguson )

4.

A poet’s duty is to use language in the way a dancer uses feet. To elevate.

(Coeur Sang)

5.

Make of your poems a space of pure nuance (à la Barthes).

6.

Norbert Wiener said the price of metaphor is eternal vigilance. What, then, is worth the price, and who ought to stay vigilant for the rest of us?

(Mark Hyun-ki Kim )

7.

Poetry makes me curious about shoes, specifically shoes that don’t fit my feet. If I’m not writing poetry about the shoes someone else wears and the journeys on which those shoes take them, it feels like robbery. I guess you can say poetry is one of my (often messy) attempts at a purer compassion.

(Jimmy Hamill)

8.

Poetry exists in the disjunct.

Truth be told, poetry exists wherever you go looking for it, provided you’ve taken enough graduate-level courses to justify the looking (a wink; a nod).

9.

Poetry exists not simply on the page, but is experienced, internalized, and lived out in every action thereafter.

(Rebecca Futty)

10.

Bruised gobs of flesh
smeared across a page.
Tempered
             Tormented
                           Transmuted
by the tiny hammer
in the tip of your pen.

(Jack Byrnes)

11.

I’m staring at the running water seeping into a storm drain and thinking about how I’d love to see the Nile River one day. That’s poetry, for me.

(Jimmy Hamill)

12.

Can you compare a poem without an audience to a falling tree that makes no sound?

Some say yes.

An alternative answer: Poetry is not an act of communication but an act of creation. You knit a little something new to the fabric of the universe.

The poem wasn’t there; now it is. The tree had not fallen, and then it did.

The sound is beside the point.

13.

Gallows humor, ephemeral. Unfortunately, lasting.

(Christopher Hils )

14.

Poetry is, often, the closest I can come to prayer; in the break of a stanza I tend to find whispers of the Divine.

(Jimmy Hamill)