Chelsey Minnis on the Poem as a Dance-Fight

H. L. Hix: Poemland feels like a list of things I would say about poetry and life, except I’m too chicken.  It’s the held umbrella (30) that’s the problem, isn’t it?  Not the fistfight.


Chelsey Minnis: My favorite way to answer yes or no questions is with a yes or a no — and then no explanation afterwards!


But on this question I would end up answering something like “neither”. The umbrella, to me, means that the fight is staged to a certain extent. In poetry terms it would mean that you’re creating a space for the poem to be unacceptable. You’re going to fight out some issue in the poem in a way that might be violent. The fight isn’t “real” but is a choreographed dance-fight. I guess I would like to try to use the poem as a way to fight something out because, I too, am too chicken to fight it out in a real forum? Like, I’m protecting myself, in the poem, from the fact that what I’m saying might be immature or unreasonable.


Minnis, Chelsey.  Poemland.  Wave Books, 2009.

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