How can one react to hatred, division, polarization, and ill will? Some people might return that aggression, others do nothing and give up. I believe that the balanced approach is best. What is in our power to flourish ourselves and our surroundings despite such animosity? We can illustrate new ways of thinking and enact what is proposed. Each person possesses a particular talent or way to be innovative, mine I consider is poetic discourse in whatever form that may be. Thus, I will illustrate a way in which poetry can help reduce polarization by creating spaces where editing is continual and transparent process through the creation of a poetic form called an exploratory.
Enough is Enough, but What can Poetry do?
Poetry is the language that unites rationality and emotivity. In a world where facts are molded to fit personal narratives, and emotions are sold as facts, we need an antidote. Poetry for me is that dose of wellness. From the radical to the traditional, poetry speaks to the irrational and makes it rational and vice-versa. If we could feel free to share our poetry and express our poetic discourse, we could shape our thinking laterally and genuinely. I believe we need safe spaces where we can share poems in an exploratory and constructive way. There is enough pessimism to fill the pond of sociopolitical discourse.
What is your talent? The world needs more of that talent, more introspection with affirmative action. It might not know right now that it needs more talent and hard work. Talent and hard work go together. The more disciplined we are, the easier we will achieve our goals. Thus, I have decided that due to my personal taste and motivation that I should publish poetry more often.
However, I struggled to find a way to balance high-quality work and frequency of publication. I have figured out a way to co-exist with both. I propose a new poetic form:
It is called Exploratory Form. It is the online publication of a rough draft that can be modified and improved in the future without fear of destroying the integrity of the poem or the author. The essence of this poem is what’s important and the meaning conveyed.
The form can be modified slowly and show the process (implicitly or explicitly) until it reaches a state of maturity. At that point, the poem leaves the Exploratory Form and becomes whatever form is appropriate (sonnet, free form, villanelle, etc.).
This way, you can freely publish your poetry and argue that the intention of the poem is for it to be improved. Any comment the reader would leave could potentially influence the future construction of this poem. This way, poems would not be static and individual bursts of knowledge but rather an exploratory poetics until they reach the state of maturity and become what each author feel was their intention to express.
We all write rough drafts. We mostly keep these versions a secret. We wait, polish, edit and then publish. Why do we do this? Well, we’ve done it for centuries. Once we published, it was gone. Kaput! Irredeemable if wrong! It was almost permanent, but now? We can just go back, click UPDATE and the last version is lost or saved in a continuum of old versions.
Although in the end, there’s no perfect version. There is a version we feel is at a state we can comfortably say it has been finished. A poem in this state would not be an exploratory form. Who says when it is not exploratory? Well, the author or even the readers could say that. It could be a subjective reasoning as much as an intersubjective because it is shared on the web or a workshop, a place of continual or potential transformation.
I feel that it is necessary to explicate that our poems are exploratory if that’s their nature. We would have a defense against those who would want to critique our poetry as clichéd, of bad taste, naive, not innovative, etc. It is a poem in transformation, if uncomfortable by it, the reader might be free to express their opinion and the author(s) might take it into consideration. However, let’s try to be constructive instead of … d~e~s~t~r~u~c~t~!~v~e.
Let’s redeem language by taking it away from those who lack the depth necessary to act with good will and empathy. Will you join what this poetic form proposes and begin to write exploratories? If you do, add a link in the comments and I’ll join you. If you want to read my exploratories, you can find them here: http://linaru.com/en/form/exploratory/
Singular: An Exploratory
Plural: The exploratories
An example of usage:
I wrote an exploratory for my workshop today. We will work the exploratories together next week.
“Why don’t we just call it rough draft? It’s too complicated! We don’t need that…,” you might say. We live in a reality that values final results over processes. This world view where satisfying desires is more important than the process of satisfying that desire has taken us to where we are now. If we value the process more than the end result, we will find gratification when delaying desires.
Let’s translate how valuing the process more than the end result look like in the arts. Imagine we go to an art gallery and instead of seeing only finished artworks, we would see a space where an unfinished artwork has been placed. Intrigued, you come back the next day. The artwork has changed. It is closer to completion, so you ask the gallery manager,” Why is the artwork changing?” The manager answers,” The artist comes every day and works on this piece until the exhibition ends. You can write a comment on this paper and leave it in this box. Your input could affect the picture’s end result. In this gallery, we value the process of making artwork more than the end result.” Can you imagine how this would translate to other types of processes?
That said, how can we have live pieces of writing? Well, the internet makes it really is to do this. An exploratory form is a way to say,” This is a rough draft meant to be shared. Let me know if you would like to suggest a change. I welcome constructive criticism only because I am in an editing phase.” If you write an exploratory, you are trying to find a safe space for your writing to flourish where people contribute for the better trusting on their good will and your discerning judgment.
What if I don’t finish the exploratory?
If you write an exploratory, you intend to share it and work on it in the future. You might not get to change it, but the intention of the author is to share and edit it in the future (in a public setting where other people can see live edits or possible new versions). Don’t feel that you must edit an exploratory to its final stage because the final result is not what we value, but the process. If during the process, it does reach a state of maturity… that’s awesome! To feel gratification during the process of polishing and creating pieces is more important than the feeling of satisfaction when we decide a piece is finished.
Is there a foundation for this proposal?
There’s a philosophical foundation for this proposal. There is a type of discourse called ontology of becoming based broadly on Heraclitus’ concept of Flux. We as poets and artists have a responsibility to disrupt the narrative of the established order that seeks to impose a superstructure of thought that submits our freedom through manufactured consent. As Gilles Deleuze writes in his book Difference and Repetition: “We claim that there are two ways to appeal to ‘necessary destructions’: that of the poet, who speaks in the name of a creative power, capable of overturning all orders and representations in order to affirm Difference in the state of permanent revolution which characterizes eternal return; and that of the politician, who is above all concerned to deny that which ‘differs,’ so as to conserve or prolong an established historical order” (p. 64). Currently, the structure attempts to make us believe that satisfaction of imminent desire will ultimately bring relief when in reality it does not. When one desire is satisfied, three creep in to replace it. Unless we being to value the process more than the result, we will remain trapped in a vicious cycle of destructive consumption.