Sadina here, a co-editor of Opus! For my multi-genre class, I’ve been reading a lot of docupoetic material, so I did a little research and thought I’d share some rando factos about it! For starters, docupoetics is slang for documentary poetry. It’s an interesting form of poetry where one collects accounts from archives, people, literature, you name it, then writes about it in a series of poems. These poems come in various forms.
One book that is hot in the literary world right now is Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. In this body of work, Rankine utilizes accounts she’s collected from various sources to discuss microaggressions pertaining to race. Carefully structured, Rankine’s work is haunting as she leads the reader through various perspectives, including visual art. If you haven’t read it, I’d recommend looking at it. It’s challenging, intriguing, and incredibly important.
Another novel I’ve been looking at that takes this docupoetic approach is Paisley Rekdal’s Intimate: An American Family Photo Album. Rekdal weaves three different narratives to tell the story of Curtis, a well-known photographer of Native Americans; Upshaw, Curtis’s guide and translator; and Rekdal herself, a woman of mixed race and identity. Rekdal uses traces of letters written by Curtis and Upshaw, archival information, photographs, poems written by Curtis, and so much more to create an account of what might have happened and why it matters. I’d recommend reading this as well!
Docupoetics blurs line between genres as the writer takes liberties to take the accounts she or he collects and turn them into a first hand account. They can border on creative nonfiction and fiction, poetry and essay, etc. There are several other authors who have taken this approach, so maybe sometime this weekend you can take the time to look some up! Who knows, this could be the writing niche you’ve been waiting to find. Here is a link to an interesting article about Rekdal and a couple other authors discussing docupoetics:
Keeping docupoetics in mind, think about this quote (courtesy of Pinterest)
Whose blood will serve as your ink? That’s all I have for now! Thanks for reading!
P.S. Opus’ open meetings are now over, and we are so grateful to those who could come to the meetings and those who came. The submissions we received were interesting, vulnerable, talented, and diverse. The Opus staff is now working very hard at editing and layout to make this edition worthy of the amazing submissions we received! We are very proud to be representing the diversity and talent on campus to the best of our abilities. We hope to see you at Opus Soup on Thursday, December 3rd at 7 pm. More information to come!