The Omniformalist Manifesto
I came across a blog post by poet Annie Finch on her website a little while ago, and it’s stuck with me. It reflects many of my own feelings about the poetry community, its relationship with the rest of the world (or the lack thereof), and my personal poetic inclinations. So, en lieu of rehashing what has already been said well by poets more experienced than I, I figured I’d just send readers to the blog post itself. It’s a quick read and well worth the time: Omniformalism Revisited
Annie Finch is one of my favorite poets, partly because of her bold, unique perspective (as an earth-centered, feminist Wiccan poet who is well-respected by the poetry community at large — how rare is that?) but also because of her deep knowledge of poetic forms and her use of them in her work that avoids sounding cliche or stiff. Most of all, I love her fascination with and respect for mystery. I’m glad that formalism has reemerged in the poetry community, not because I dislike free-form poetry (the grand majority of my poems are, in fact, free form) but because I enjoy seeing the new expressions that old forms can take in a modern context. I like play with structure as much as I like deviation from it, which is what Omniformalism is all about — celebrating all forms of poetry.
In May, a poem of mine will appear in Subprimal Poetry Art, an online journal based in Mexico that “looks toward poetry, flash fiction, music, and art work that takes the reader / viewer / listener out of the ordinary and into a place altered from that which they normally experience. In an enjoyable, thought-provoking way.” The next issue will feature not just the text of my poem but also a recording of me reading it. I’ve never done something like that before, so I’m excited about it and look forward to hearing what readers/listeners think. I’ll provide more details when it’s published.
I’ll end with a quote from the above-mentioned manifesto:
We have a madness for poems that pound in the blood, that are moved into three dimensions by the immanent necessities of their form, that know the stubborn patterns and rhythms the world keeps.