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THE REALPOETIK MANIFESTO

14 November 2012

Realpoetik

[a declaration in progress]

FOR TOO LONG has poetry been disregarded as a valid vehicle for the exploration of real world experience. Too often has poetry been filed in the ‘too hard’ basket and deemed ‘irrelevant’ and ‘inaccessible.’ This declaration calls for an end to the mistreatment and marginalisation of poetic language; an end to the segregation of poetry from and by the authoritative discourse of prose. We summon forth the potential of poetry to expand our conceptions and perceptions of the ‘real.’ To this end:

WE THE POETS Jessica L. Wilkinson and Ali Alizadeh, and others who shall soon join us, in order to advance and expand the field of writing, declare the following conditions for the Realpoetik, an unavoidable and necessary code for the art of non-fiction poetry:

  • The Realpoetik recognises the unquantifiable potential of poetic writing to convey a deeper experience of reality and ‘real life’ accounts than may be possible through conventional non-fiction prose.
  • The Realpoetik celebrates the power of the poetic form to realise and enact factual content.
  • The Realpoetik unsettles the historical landscape of facts and accuracies, and directs the poet/reader towards the enlivened dramatic stage whereupon the past may be launched into action.
  • The Realpoetik travels through gaps in the historical imaginary.
  • The Realpoetik demands a poetic reclamation of the historical field, the biographical portrait, the autobiographical reflection, the scientific analysis of facts.
  • The Realpoetik demands that poets join novelists, historians, memoirists, biographers and philosophers as writers of the real world.
  • The Realpoetik hears Ed Sanders calling, and we reply Yes! The poets ARE marching again upon the hills of history.
  • The Realpoetik encourages the trawling of libraries, archives, newspapers and museums, for poetical fodder.
  • The Realpoetik advocates rigorous research as poetic process.
  • The Realpoetik respects the gifts of poetry: the line and the play; the rhythm and the space; the sound and the silence.
  • The Realpoetik may incite bold experiments with the line, with rhythm, with form; it revels in words that function not only as signifiers of linguistic meaning, but as visual and sound potential.
  • The Realpoetik follows the revolutionary threads unravelled by Julia Kristeva, Rachel Blau DuPlessis et al. and welcomes the immense power of the semiotic undercurrent of poetic language.
  • The Realpoetik hears Alain Badiou calling, and it breaks with arrogantly lyrical, fashionably experimental and simply educational schemata.
  • The Realpoetik rejects the view of the poem as an exercise in classical versification and conventional aesthetics.
  • The Realpoetik rejects the view of the poem as an exercise in formulaic experimentation and sophistic aesthetics.
  • The Realpoetik rejects the view of the poem as an exercise in prosaic representation and populist aesthetics.
  • The Realpoetik reclaims the view of the poem as an exercise in direct intervention and dialectical aesthetics.
  • The Realpoetik does not conceal the poet’s entrance into, and dialogue within, the world of facts.
  • The Realpoetik celebrates the performative, the playful, the adventurous.
  • The Realpoetik claims a space for the frivolous alongside the serious.
  • The Realpoetik encourages tea and cake.
  • The Realpoetik willingly follows the White Rabbit down the hole and into a world fit for alternative thinking.

EVERY POET sees the world through a unique lens; hears the world through their own exceptional ear. The Realpoetik does not curtail such diversity through stringent adherence to formal Law, but instead opens the field to these singular engagements with real world content. We aim to establish an expansive literary space within which poets can openly engage with auto/biography, history, politics, economics, cultural analysis, science, the environment, and all other aspects of life in the real world.

WE PROMOTE a poetry that is multiple, transformative, moving, contradictory, evental, rhizomatic, inaesthetic, evolving, whispered, piercing, stuttering, disruptive, performative, active, enveloping, epidemic.

We invite YOU, the poets of the world, to join us in our expedition through and across the excitable terrain of a non-fiction poetics.

Signed:

Jessica L. Wilkinson           Ali Alizadeh           

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