In the last year of my undergraduate career, I’ve been reconsidering the role of writing as a type of artistic performance, and, more importantly, as a type of social change. How does writing make tides, swing past doors? What is it about writing in particular that makes others move to action, or shout? At a very basic level, written language is performative. I read stop signs, and halt my car. I read class e-mails and turn shit in.
Illustration by Megan Mulholland
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But when it comes to creative writing, how can we use poetry and prose to move others beyond directive action? How can poetry be used as a form of social change? In other words, when does writing become more than a “good” poem, or a “good” story? When does writing spark movement?
When I teach writing workshops to high school students, I tell them I’m not interested in whether or not they can use fancy metaphors, or how many Shakespeare references they can squeeze in a line. I’m not interested in whether or not their poetry “sounds good.” I am interested in what they — and I, too — fear: being responsible for ourselves. Poetry is largely a practice of holding myself accountable. For me, poetry moves me to action when I begin naming my OWN joy and my OWN fear. I do not want others to name it, or me. I ask my students to reconsider how the poem reshapes or celebrates or challenges a question of the self. How the poem creates a new vision. Not every poem has to be “deep,” nor does every poem have to have an agenda behind it. But I believe that poetry can create movement and action when others begin to seize their own languages, and undertake the project of naming their own joys, bodies, hungers, fears.
I am a poet. The way I navigate, seek and understand the world is largely through lyric and poetry. I write to save. I write to carve out. I write to buzz, let go, love, push, remember. Above all, I write because in writing, I find myself asking questions, shooting arrows, forging visual and verbal connections. In other words, my brain is at its most electric when I am writing — and I am able to challenge myself to chase after hard questions, challenge myself to look and upturn more. There are plenty of rules that we’ve studied in class on how to be a “good” writer. But I’ve never been taught in a classroom that writing is, at its core, inherently mobile. Writing evolves, and asks its readers to evolve. Writing is a re-vision of the world, and, consequently, a re-moving of the world. It rattles the floors. It lifts us up.
Although most poetry is not lyric writing. Lyric writing is a subset of poetry. Using the techniques available in the art of lyric songwriting can be useful. Making the lyrics to a song move is so important. As songwriters are really storytellers. Creative writing is the keystone in creating songs that the listener can relate with.
See on Scoop.it – songwriting