Metapoetics: Definitions of Poetics
(A slightly earlier version of these may be read here. I reproduce the first few here only)
Poetics is the product of the process of reflection upon writings, and upon the act of writing, gathering from the past and from others, speculatively casting into the future.
Poetics is a discipline, though a flexible one.
Poetics is a discourse, though an intermittent mercurial one.
Poetics is a writer-centred, self-organising activity.
Poetics is a way of letting writers question what they think they know.
Poetics is a way of allowing creative writing dialogue with itself, beyond the monologic of commentary or reflection.
Poetics exists for oneself and for others, to produce, to quote Rachel Blau DuPlessis, ‘a permission to continue’. (DuPlessis 1990: 156)
Poetics is not theory in the ordinary rationalistic sense.
‘Poetics don’t explain; they redress and address.’ (Bernstein 1992: 160)
Poetics is not practice in the ordinary empirical sense.
Poetics could be a test of practice; but practice will test poetics.
To talk of theoretical poetics is not accurate; to talk of practical poetics is no less accurate.
Poetics involves a theory of practice, a practice of theory.
... and dozens more for your delight
here, right through to:
Poetics should be studied as such.
Poetics can stop being absorbed by the metalanguage of literary theory or criticism by asserting its own claims as a discourse, a language game with its own players, rules and purposes.
Poetics in hybrid, fragmentary, collage, playful, jokey, patapoetical, forms, avoids cooption into the explication of the writing that results.
Poetics’ function is both oriented towards, and in, new form.
Return to part one (and an index to all parts of The Necessity of Poetics) here.