21st-Century Avant-garde Manifesto

  1. The avant-garde is alive and kicking, much to the dismay of those who would declare us, the avant-gardistes, dead and gone.
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  2. For you, the avant-gardistes of today, are free, as our ancestors were free, to declare ourselves poets. And you are free to claim a work “good” when that work meets your, the writer’s, expectations. For you and only you know and can know your intentions and expectations of that work.
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  3. Those who consider themselves our betters will try to force us into that mold they believe to be true poetry.
  4. But we are free men and women as humanity is intended and remain determined! For poetic development would long ago be dead had our avant-garde ancestors succumbed to the dictates of conventionality.
  5. We are free to accept or reject the opinions of others. While we can and do learn from their comments, we do not allow them to break our chosen path
  6. We are free to accept or reject traditional forms and styles. We seek a new aesthetic, a new paradigm of creativity.
  7. We are free to eschew ordinary standards of poetic taste and willingly bear the rejection of contemporary readers.
  8. We, the new generation of the avant-garde, are determined to speak freely in this time of social upheaval. Though our seeming radical words may be challenging to understand, our goal is to give a clearer view of reality.

We are free! We are avant-gardistes!

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  1. Avant Garde is, to an extent, dead. The “arts” world has become divided into the EuroAmerican (NATOistic) world and the Global South, that is, that region not regulated by America. To say it bluntly, the arts are divided along geopolitical lines into geocultural realms. The EuroAmerican world is dominated by a number of form and style “rules” that are used to judge poetry as “good” and therefore of publishable quality. In the Global South, the emphasis is on content, that is, what the poet says rather than how he or she says it. Avant Garde activity is still strong in the Global South.
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  2. In “A Lecture on Modern Poetry”(1908), T. E. Hulme (1883 – 1917) says

    …verse is simply and solely the means of expression… (and we) consider it merely as a tool. There is an intimate connection between the verse form and the state of poetry at any period. It is the invention or introduction of a new verse form. Each age must have its own special form of expression. (In) the later stages in the decay of an art form… there is a meaningless reverence for formalities. (TEH p59 – 67)
    Thus, as an avantgardiste, you are (almost) obligated to create your own format (and style) from the hundreds of poetic tools for your work.
    Damn the torpedoes – full speed ahead!
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