Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Manifesto #313

I love this inaugural prompt from fertile ground, the new site that Jill and Carolee started. They ask that we write our poetic statement, or manifesto if you will, for why we write poetry. Manifestos have been on my mind lately, for a couple of reasons. Coincidentally enough, I was planning on writing an article for Poetic Monthly on the poetic manifesto by the end of the month. (Deadlines!) I've also been writing a lot of manifestos lately.

So here's the current incarnation of my poetic manifesto, which I wrote on the bus this morning.

Why Do I Write?

I always come back to the idea that I write because I have to. But I don't have to. I would survive without writing. I would live and breathe and eat and talk and sleep and make love, with or without writing. But I feel a compulsion towards expression, towards ordering, labeling, and deciphering the world around me. Without writing, I would feel surrounded by a gray monotony, like I had 550 channel cable with nothing ever on.

I write because it is difficult -- it takes strength, perseverance, discipline, and bravery, qualities I've never truly felt that I possessed. Yet, I spend hours each week writing and revising and putting my words out into the world, despite all the reasons to hide. On the page, I become strong, brave, disciplined and committed and I can see for a brief glittering second what I could become.

Most importantly, I write because I believe in the transformative power of language. Words are thoughts transformed into action. By writing, I create the world I believe in, the world I want to live in. I express my half-formed ideas and my hopes and truths and secrets, and I can see the slide towards action.

Edit: The image is not my own -- it is Joseph Beuys' 1970 Fluxus Manifesto. Sorry for the confusion.


Paul said...

Manifestos are fine but write poems...Manifestos are rarely remembered.

Christine said...

I didn't include why I write in my plan, but I think it's a great idea to trace the source of where all these words originate.

I love your scanned journal entry, and how you wrote it on the bus. It makes you more of a living, breathing writer.

I'm happy to meet you here on Fertile Ground!

Jessica said...

Thanks Christine! I should probably note (and I didn't in the blog post, bad me) that the picture is a Fluxus manifesto from Joseph Beuys.

Here's the link --

Jo said...

A good manifesto......I will check out that site later as I love Jill's work.

kimberley said...

The poetry I've read here on your blog reflects your "strength, perseverance, discipline, and bravery," and not to mention- talent!

poet with a day job said...

This is so exactly right on for me. Even though I wrote something completely different, i read what you have here and it is 100% true for me too. Especially the part about creating the in writing the place I want to be. Great!

Marie said...

What a strong favorite reason you wrote was to transform your thoughts into action. The word is so powerful as to create things in your life that sometimes you don't even remember until you go back and read it. My friend does workshops called Write it Down and Make it Happen. Years later, I can go back and see a path I created! (guess it means to be careful what we write?) Thanks for sharing the source...I'll have to go visit.

...deb said...

You are so succint, yet the ideals and ideas you successfully describe are broad and overarching. I'd like to re-write my own to be as clear.

I like the act of becoming you describe so well.