In the first half of this book, we primarily encourage you to follow ‘text-based’ approaches to producing the language, forms, voices, styles, and subjects for poems. Our discussion of writing as an ‘autotelic’ activity — one that remains an end in itself — reinforces the pre-eminence of text-based methods of composition, where poets need to look no further than the language they accumulate through journaling, junkyarding, ‘improv’-ing, and other generative strategies. In the second half of the text, we offer more speculative notions of those same categories (form, voice, style, and subject) by focusing on influences beyond the words on the page. Where the first half dealt primarily with text, the second tends toward discussions of context — those forces that fuel poetic work from ‘outside’ the craft. We invite you, then, to explore the possibilities of situating your creative ‘texts’ in various political, social, and historical ‘contexts’, to start looking past the page and speculating about poetry writing in broader cultural terms.
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