Of the eight manifestos that Poetry printed this month, I found two that actually had me longing to declaim them through a megaphone (and one satirical specimen that made me laugh--just imagine Ezra Pound howling it!). I've cut out my favorite thoughts and pasted them below.
The freedom to not-rhyme must include the freedom to rhyme. Then verse will be “free.”
All rhymed poetry must be rhyme-driven. This is no longer to be considered pejorative.
English is not rhyme poor. It is only uninflected. On the contrary, English has a richness in rhymes across different parts of speech; whereas in many other languages, rhyme is often merely a coincident jingle of accidence.
There are no tired rhymes. There are no forbidden rhymes. Rhymes are not predictable unless lines are. Death and breath, womb and tomb, love and of, moon, June, spoon, all still have great poems ahead of them.
Rhymes may be so far apart, you cannot hear them, but they can hear each other, as if whispering on a toy telephone made of two paper cups and a length of string. [The great exemplar of this is Dylan Thomas's "Author's Prologue" See "farms-arms" Or see my "Roman April."]
Off rhymes founded on consonants are more literary than off rhymes founded on vowels (assonance). Vowels are shifty. Assonance is in the mouth, not the ear. It is performative. [Listen to your average rock song: assonance, not rhyme. Vowels are harder to hide when you're singing.]
Translators who translate poems that rhyme into poems that don’t rhyme solely because they claim keeping the rhyme is impossible without doing violence to the poem have done violence to the poem. They are also lazy.
Rhyme is an irrational, sensual link between two words. It is chemical. It is alchemical.
April, silver, orange, month. [I actually have a rhyme for "orange." I am willing to sell it.]
Rhyme frees the poet from what he wants to say.
Rhyme annoys people, but only people who write poetry that doesn’t rhyme, and critics.
Perform-A-Form: A Page Vs. Stage Alliance
Thomas Sayers Ellis
The performance body, via breathing and gesture, dramatizes form. It makes it theater. It makes it action....The idea body, via text and thought, flattens form. It makes it fixed. It makes it language. It makes it literature....The work of the performance body is not without craft, control, or form. It is not lowly. The work of the idea body is not without attitude, improvisation, or flow. It is not closed.
Perform–a–formers seek a path around both academic and slam poetry....The utterance, paged or memorized, is only a schema in need of diverse modes of respiration.