Collage Poetry: A Manifesto
By Will Nixon
Why make collage poetry?
Why write with scissors rather than with your pen? Why limit yourself to someone else’s words when you have so many of your own? Why not write from the heart and soul?
Because you can be more than one kind of poet.
My words tell me what I know. But words have layers of meanings beyond what I habitually use them to say. To explore these layers I find it inviting to use someone else’s words. What’s in them I haven’t seen before?
Combining words in new ways to create new meanings is the essence of collage. Finding new combinations that work is the essence of invention in both the sciences and the arts.
Use headlines. Use pictures. Textbooks. Magazines. Use whatever you want.
Don’t force words to say what you think. Let them lead you in unexpected directions. Let them be smarter than you are. If your collage poem makes some sense, but leaves you a little puzzled--and intrigued by this puzzle, even smiling--you’ve succeeded. You’re not trying to answer any questions. You’re trying to create better mysteries.
Collage is at the core of life, taking what we have and rearranging it until we create something brand new and exciting.