September 8, 2021



A manifesto is defined as a declaration of one's beliefs, opinions, motives, and intentions. It is simply a document that an organization or person writes that declares what is important to them. A manifesto functions as both a statement of principles and a bold, sometimes rebellious, call to action.  It reflects your intent and your motivation.

Here are some manifestos (and some statements) from writers and artists: 

Wendell Berry

The Tracing, the path with every misstep along the way…

It may be that when we no longer know what to do,

we have come to our real work

and when we no longer know which way to go,

we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Theodore Roethke

On Poetry and Craft 

In poetry, there are no casual readers.

Nothing seen, nothing said.

The lyric is almost forgotten in this time of sawing and snoring and scraping.

Energy is the soul of poetry. Explosive active language.

Live in a perpetual great astonishment.

Rhythm depends on expecting.

The literal, that grave of all the dull.

I need the botanist's leaf more than the poet's flower.

Put it this way: I detest dogs, but adore wolves.

Eternal apprenticeship is the life of the true poet.

That intense profound sharp longing to make a true poem.

Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries.

Art is our defense against hysteria and death.

If we muddle and thump through a paraphrase, with side comments, however brilliant, we still do

not have the poem.

Talent talks; genius does.

Poetry is an act of mischief.

A poetry of longing: not for escape, but for a greater reality.

The greatest assassin of life is haste.

Make ready for your gifts. Prepare. Prepare.

Rosemarie Waldrop (experimental poet)

A manifesto: “shall we escape analogy”—without question mark.


The French film maker said of his work that it was "as if I wanted to write a sociological essay in the

form of a novel, and all I had to do it with was notes of music."

Frank Lloyd Wright

Form follows function – that has been misunderstood.

Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union. -Frank Lloyd Wright

Pablo Picasso

"When you start with a portrait and search for a pure form, a clear volume, through

successive eliminations, you arrive inevitably at the egg. Likewise, starting with the

egg and following the same process in reverse, one finishes with the portrait."

Vladimir Nabokov

"Style and Structure are the essence of a book;

great ideas are hogwash."

Pablo Neruda

Towards an Impure Poetry (an introduction he wrote for a book of poetry)

It is good, at certain hours of the day and night, to look closely at the world of objects at

rest. Wheels that have crossed long, dusty distances with their mineral and vegetable

burdens, sacks from the coal bins, barrels, and baskets, handles and hafts for the

carpenter's tool chest. From them flow the contacts of man with the earth, like a text for all

troubled lyricists. The used surfaces of things, the wear that the hands give to things, the

air, tragic at times, pathetic at others, of such things - all lend a curious attractiveness to

the reality of the world that should not be underprized.

In them one sees the confused impurity of the human condition, the massing of things, the

use and disuse of substances, footprints and fingerprints, the abiding presence of the

human engulfing all artifacts, inside and out.

Let that be the poetry we search for: worn with the hand's obligations, as by acids, steeped

in sweat and in smoke, smelling of lilies and urine, spattered diversely by the trades that we

live by, inside the law or beyond it.

A poetry impure as the clothing we wear, or our bodies, soup-stained, soiled with our

shameful behavior, our wrinkles and vigils and dreams, observations and prophecies,

declarations of loathing and love, idylls and beasts, the shocks of encounter, political

loyalties, denial and doubts, affirmations and taxes.

The holy canons of madrigals, the mandates of touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing, the

passion for justice, sexual desire, the sea sounding-willfully rejecting and accepting nothing:

the deep penetration of things in the transports of love, a consummate poetry soiled by the

pigeon's claw, ice-marked and tooth-marked, bitten delicately with our sweatdrops and

usage, perhaps. Till the instrument so restlessly played yields us the comfort of its surfaces,

the woods show the knottiest suavities shaped by the pride of the tool. Blossom and water

and wheat kernel share one precious consistency: the sumptuous appeal of the tactile.

Let no one forget them. Melancholy, old mawkishness impure and unflawed, fruits of a

fabulous species lost to the memory, cast away in a frenzy's abandonment-moonlight, the

swan in the gathering darkness, all hackneyed endearments: surely that is the poet's

concern, essential and absolute. Those who shun the "bad taste" of things will fall flat on the ice.

Neruda, Pablo. Five Decades: Poems 1925-1970. Ben Belitt, editor and translator. Grove

Press, c1974 (pp xxi- xxii)

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