Kinetic Utopias

Anne Waldman’s Workshop, Naropa SWP: The Capitalocene, Week 3; 25-29 June 2018.


Charles Olson, ‘Projective Verse’ (1950): “The kinetics of the thing. A poem is energy transferred from where the poet got it […] by way of the poem itself […], all the way over to, the reader. Okay. Then the poem itself must, at all points, be a high-energy construct and, at all points, an energy-discharge”. Olson argues that, “every element in an open poem (the syllable, the line, as well as the image, the sound, the sense) must be taken up as participants in the kinetic of the poem”.

In the workshops this week, Anne has encouraged our utopias to be kinetic by engaging with the three poeias: phanopoeia– making poetry with images in the mind; logopoeia– making poetry with words & their meanings; melopoeia– making poetry with rhythms and sounds. Through engaging with these elements of poeisis(meaning, to make), our utopias become kinetic – that is, high-energy constructs, which are, at all points, also energy-discharges.


Thomas More coined the term ‘Utopia’ (1516) as a pun on two extant Greek terms: ‘eutopia’ with the prefix eu, meaning perfect place; and ‘outopia’ with the prefix ou, meaning no-place.  So, with neither the enor the oas its initial letter, the new coinage ‘utopia’ combines the meanings of both perfect place and no-place: it is literally the perfect place that has no physical location.

Rhythmic sentence structures, crisp images and rich language in our Kinetic Utopias have the potential to perform a kinetic transfer of energy from writer to reader, such that we all might be brought into a non-alienating and participatory relationship by way of the text itself.

In our offerings of Kinetic Utopias, we invite you into the world of our words, through their images, their meanings and their rhythms, where we hope to meet you – in the perfect place that exists only in the spaces between our hearts and minds.

(The poem from this post is no longer publicly available.  Please subscribe to my Patreon page as a Full Moon Poet to see this and other poems.)

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