Whether we know exactly what our poetic statements are right now, or we haven’t quite developed them yet, we all have things we don’t believe in as poets: things we hate, things we’ve sworn off, things we’ve told ourselves will never surface in our poetry. When you write your next poem, contradict yourself/ your ideas about what poetry is/should be, or more specifically, what your poetry is/ should be. Purposely write in something that you don’t like (whether it be a line, punctuation, formatting, an image, or even a whole poem). The catch: upon revision, don’t delete what you hate. Make it work within the poem. Surprise yourself. If the poem wants to get rid of whatever it is, transform the poem so it can stay.
Share your poem when you’re ready. Read it over and over again, even if you hate it. Read it because you hate it. Read it and revise it until you don’t hate it. Through this reading and revision, you hopefully will have spent a lot of time considering why you don’t believe in what you believe in, as well as thinking about how we can make things we hate work. Maybe we can even come to understand why several of the poets in Lyric Postmodernisms seemed to contradict themselves. Is there an underlying complexity that we can only discover through forcing ourselves to write a contradiction? Share what you find.