Continuing the Millennial Poetics series, here’s a recap:
- Poetic Craft Is Of The Utmost Importance
- Millennial Poetics: There Is No Room For Prejudice In Poetry
- Form Is Just Another Element Of Poetic Craft
The nine principles of poetics are:
- 1. Craft is of utmost importance
2. There is no room for prejudice
3. Form is just another element of craft
4. Creativity and craft go hand in hand
5. No topic is taboo
6. There is no such thing as language that is too archaic
7. All poems are individuals
8. There is no acceptable method to writing poetry
9. All convention should be shunned
Today we’re on creativity. As the title of this post suggests, creativity and poetic craft go hand in hand.
Creativity And Poetic Craft Go Hand In Hand
Einstein said that imagination is more important than intelligence. That quote epitomizes the essence of Millennial poetics. Creativity and craft are nearly synonymous. Imagination is the poet’s brains.
Poets do not report the news. We improve it. Too many poets try to “capture the moment” or tell it like it happened.” That is almost always the wrong way to approach a poem. It is much more exciting to tell what could have happened or what should have happened. The poet who can take what did happen and enhance it with metaphor, hyperbole, allusion, or other poetic elements is the poet who will go down in history with a legacy. It isn’t what happened that is important in poetry. It is what the poet can make his readers believe happened that is intrinsically important.
This doesn’t mean, however, that creativity is simply a reference to imagination with regard to the content of a poem. It also is a reference to imagination with regard to the language of a poem. Presentation is every bit as important as content, though content and presentation are in reality intimately connected. It is the poet’s creative skills that pull all of this together.
Instead of just presenting facts or lists, the creative poet must employ techniques and devices that illustrate the facts. Information is not poetry, but good poetry does convey information.
A poet can be creative in any number of ways. E.E. Cummings was being creative when he employed punctuation in unconventional ways. Walt Whitman was being creative when he invented a new American form. Gerard Manley Hopkins was being creative when he took an existing form – the sonnet – and added his own signature mark, an odd metrical structure he called “sprung rhythm.” Allen Ginsberg was being creative when he stood naked in a bookstore and railed against the establishment. Mark Smith was being creative when he introduced the world to poetry slams in Chicago in the 1980s. Now it is time for a new form, a new creativeness to emerge in the world of poetry. I see that creativity being birthed this very moment as poets invent new forms of multimedia presentation with Flash and other visually-oriented video poetry such as this one from Billy Collins:
Creativity is the one human characteristic that has no limits. Poets are among human professions that have creativity in abundance. We should use it. It is time to take poetry to the next level of achievement – beyond slams, beyond spoken word, beyond mere word play, and beyond the hard core political rant that seems be chic among the psychologically disenfranchised and economically downtrodden. The next revolution in poetics will be a worldwide movement to communicate in digital images. The question will be, will poets working in that form be creative enough?
CAVEAT: Just as I finished this post I went searching for videos on YouTube. I subscribe to any videos tagged “poetry.” And wouldn’t you know that I found one. It was a marketing video for this website, which is another example of the type of creative poetry video I discussed above. A great resource for poets working with visual images.