Pedantic Pedestrians: On (re)producing Poetry


As part of a series of projects my friends and I hope to begin for our art group, I started this “Poetry Re-production” which has long been conceptualized by the group. Here is the concept behind the project:

Poetry Reproduction Concept

This project shall answer a “what” and a “how.” In other words, it seeks to supply answers on questions of both “theory” and “practice.” The idea of poetry has been owned and manipulated by established institutions which undoubtedly advocate a particular way of looking at things. We assert that the dominating ideas of poetry today and the venues wherein these ideas are manufactured and circulated, corroborate in poetry’s elitism – its insulation from the material setting where it is supposedly born and from the people in this setting to whom it is supposedly obligated for their consumption and meaning-making of the given poetic works. This idea of poetry thus also limits its practice, mostly confining it to the privileged few who have studied and “learned” to appreciate and compose poetry.

This project of “translating” poetry is concerned on how ordinary people come into terms with poetry. First: what is poetry to them and second: how do they “create” their very conception of poetry. They will be asked to make several lines of “poetry” out of a short verse shown to them. When an initial result has been culled, these made poetries will then be passed on to other people who will be asked to do the same. Hence: a continual reproduction of poetries done through the varied re-presentations and reinterpretations of people on a verse presented to them. All of the products will be exhibited to betoken the kind of poetries that are thought of and more vitally, created by the everyday people who at the first place should be the ones creating and reading these poems.

Meanwhile, these are the photos of the poem I used and the first two poems made out of it by random people I approached among the public during my first time to actualize this project:

"May Mga Paslit" ni Rio Alma

"May Mga Paslit" ni Rio Alma
“May Mga Paslit” ni Rio Alma
First poem created after reading May Mga Paslit
First poem created after reading May Mga Paslit
Second poem, made by a college student, out of May Mga Paslit
Second poem, made by a college student, out of May Mga Paslit
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9 Comments

      1. Yes bausss! For my next post, you must show me the finished product for review. There are few better exercises for overly wordy fags than the work of other fags. While I have considerable reservations as to your definition of poetry (art may be directed towards the masses and may even advocate mass interests, but to turn everyone into artists feels like a parody of the notion of the artist; besides, why the need to pedestal the artist so? And following your logic, why not transform everyone into accountants? Or lawyers? Or doctors? Clearly, there are qualifications. While i believe in political art, the artist must not be reduced to everyone. A potential resolution is to limit the project into art appreciation, instead of an attempt at an artist factory. Finally, note that removing the function of the artist within the ambit of the absolute, all-inclusive public does not equate to the maintenance of “high art” and its elitism. It does not mean that our beloved masa cannot aspire to artistry. If anything, it means that the role of the artist is subordinate (at worst) or equal (at best) to other roles, such as that of the revolutionary (however we construe it), the doctor, the lawyer, or even, our beloved magsasaka. To put artists in place, you don’t need to make everyone an artist. Instead, you need to give everyone the option to be anyone they want to be), the attempt is laudable and the results are potentially worthwhile. 🙂

        Chos and good night!

      2. Hey hey hey. Thank you for your substantial words. 🙂

        Siguro nga there is a need to clarify the objectives of the project. Certainly, (and I believe I can speak for the rest of the group) we did not want to make everyone an artist, or a poet for that matter, by doing this. The exercise aims to see how “street/public” people “do” poetry (certainly, how they do it is influenced by what concept of it they have). On my part, after na rin ng isang napakaikling facrbook exchange kay Manang Luchie ng Baguio Writer’s group who sort of commended our project, there are two important matters that I think the project can give useful insights on: (1) “literary production” vis-à-vis canonized/rigid, and not to say, scarce, literary production sa bansa dahil na rin siguro sa institutional factors that maintain the ‘elitism’ of art in general, kasama na ang literature. (2) Our (that collective I know you know so well) ‘forms’ of engagement to the “masses.” At least for me, this engagement works better than the clichéd rallies and all that. Pero not to say na tigilan na natin mag-rally, magpaforum and all. In this project, arguably mas engaged kami, mas microscopic, mas specific yung isyung tinutumbok and at the same time, pinoproblematize at hopefully, malilinawan.

        Hopefully nga, after namin makagather ng kung ilang tula ng mga tao sa mundo, maupuan namin ito, mailabas siya as chapbook or something with our accompanying insights re: the abovementioned issues.

    1. Hello po! Nakita ko po. 🙂 Nakakatuwa pong malaman na may mga ganitong nadudulot ang ilang blog posts ko. Sisikapin ko po na maging mas mapagmatyag rin sa blog nyo. 🙂

      1. Yes po, naaalala ko pa po ‘yun: Distance is these. Hehe. 🙂 Hindi dapat tumitigil tumula lalo na at may kahit isang nagbabasa. Salamat po uli!

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