What’s So Experimental about This?

What is experimental poetry
A few of my friends asked me what’s so experimental about “experimental” poetry. I suppose the answer is not much—if you’re not already familiar with poetry as a thousands-of-years-long tradition. If you’re in that group of people who are wholly familiar with Epic poetry, Pindaric odes, metaphysical poetry, Petrarchan sonnets, Shakespearean sonnets, Sprung Rhythm & Inscape, don’t despair: you get to approach an exciting time in the history of poetry with fresh eyes. While I think there’s a great deal to be said for knowing the tradition, and thus being able to compare contemporary experimentation with traditional groundwork, there’s also something exquisite about the possibility of seeing experimental poetry as Poetry—no more and no less.

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A Practice—and a Mindset

Experimental Poetry - A mindset
Like most poetry, rogue poetry comes out of more than pure technique; it comes out of particular modes of thinking. Found poetry comes out of a consciously observant mode of thought that believes poetry can be—and is—found everywhere. Computer poetry admits that, for the first time in history, mankind is not the sole purveyor of poetry. Erasure poetry finds the buried poetry in another work.

Location, Location, Location

Experimental Poetry - Found everywhere
Found poetry is the most accessible of those genres I’ve labeled “rogue.” This is because poetry is to be found everywhere. There is graffiti throughout our cities. There is a billboard blocking another billboard, and it looks like the words of the one flow into the other. There is always stray conversation. More than any other written genre, found poetry highlights the centrality of perspective.