Monday, August 11, 2008

A New School of Poetics? What On Earth For?

From the Romantics to the Language Poets, academics love to talk about the various schools of poetics. Do these schools mean anything?

A school, also called movement, is simply a way of classifying a group of poets under one umbrella. Many times, a school is not named until well after the poets defined by its principles are long gone. It is the academics and the critics who define them by their style, philosophy, or commonalities. Other times, however, the poets themselves set out to change the world - for better or worse. Such was the case with the Beats and there has been no school of poetics more influential to contemporary poets than the Beat poets.

It is time for a new school of poetics, though. One that will usher in the 21st century and the new millennium. This school must be different than any other school of poetics before it. It must stand out and not only define itself, but define the future of poetics.

Previous schools all were defined primarily by what they didn't like about those who went before them. Modern poets rebelled against the principles of traditional forms. Postmodern poets rebelled against the moderns. Other schools of the 20th century defined themselves by how they were different than the Postmoderns and the Moderns. But there is no rational reason why one poetic school should define itself by what it doesn't want to be. Rather, there should be a poetic movement that defines itself by what it does aspire to be. That school is the Millennial School of Poetics.
  • Millennial Poetics is defined by 9 key principles:
  • Craft is of utmost importance
  • There is no room for prejudice
  • Form is just another element of craft
  • Creativity and craft go hand in hand
  • No topic is taboo
  • There is no such thing as language that is too archaic
  • All poems are individuals
  • There is no acceptable method to writing poetry
  • All convention should be shunned

With these principles, the Millennial School of Poetics aspires to tie together all the strings of poetic principles from schools that came before it. We do not reject them. We embrace them. All the forms, all the styles, all the tools and techniques of previous schools of poetry are available to us. We study them so that we can employ them, own them, and improve them.
Millennial poets affirm the importance of craft. Without a commitment to the principle of craft, poets are rendered to being nothing but hobbyists. With regard to prejudice, we claim that all poetic techniques are valid and if there are any never before employed then we'll employ them. Form is not, as New Formalists claim, the natural use of language nor is it too overused for contemporary poetry; form is just another element of craft. Creativity is as important as craft and can be taken as craft's right hand. Nothing is taboo in poetry. Archaic language may be appropriate if the poem aspires to capture a specific tone that would give it justice. Every poem is its own and either succeeds or fails on its own merits. Methods and formulas do not work. Finally, external conventions should never be allowed; each individual poet establishes his own poetic.

These are the principles of the Millennial School of Poetics. Study is our profession, craft is our practice, and imagination is our playing field. Welcome to the New School.

Allen Taylor is editor and publisher of Hyperbole, the poetry e-zine, and writes a daily blog at worldclasspoetryblog. Subscribe to Hyperbole e-zine at

A New School of Poetics? What On Earth For?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


© free template by Blogspot tutorial