Burning Down the Canon

By: Seth Garcia on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Seth Garcia, Poetry Editor

To be honest, poetry doesn’t make much sense to me. Every time I think I’ve figured it out, cracked the atavistic code, some poet comes along and rearranges all my previously held conceptions of what poetry can look or feel like. The poetry that stays with me has always been something innovative, interesting.

The ‘rules’ implemented on poetry come from stuffy control freaks. Don’t be like them, confined to left-margin blocks that float entitled without any sense of risk or vitality. Break the standard notions. Remind us that even we as editors need to be on your terms.

This can be done formally, as well as through content. Hell, give us both. I still remember the first time I read “All Men Die” by Fatimah Asghar. I had never seen, felt, experienced that kind of poem before in my life. It put me in my place; it humbled, exposed, bereft me in inexplicable tides. Do that: remind me that I am wrong to ever think my opinions are secure. Send us something new. Send us something which redefines, which penetrates our shell of normalcy.

Poetry has a remarkable ability to strip away the pretensions we’ve spent our lives accumulating. I’m tired of left-blocked poems. Burn the canon down in front of us. Take away our sense of our selves. Tell us we’ve been living in an insecure bubble our whole lives, that we needed, more than anything, to hear your voice, your perspective, and that it was ours all along. We all need that precious excavation that reminds us of our interconnectivity, our gravity, our unbrokenness.

Poetry, if nothing else, is experience at its most unalloyed. Share with us your reality, and let it redefine our own.