The Cleave Poetry Webzine [ISSN: 1758-9223]

Posts Tagged ‘poetics’

What is cleave poetry? A summary of my thoughts so far

In announcement, discussion on October 26, 2008 at 7:14 am
What is in a name?
Cleave : is a contranym, a word with 2 opposite meanings:
  • verb 1) split or sever along a natural grain or line. 2) divide; split.
  • verb 1) stick fast to. 2) become strongly involved with or emotionally attached to.

— ORIGIN Old English Compact Oxford English Dictionary

In its most basic form it is three poems:
  • two parallel ‘vertical’ poems (left and right)
  • a third ‘horizontal’ poem being the fusion of the vertical poems read together.
This is a simple and elegant concept, but it is a paradigm shift.

It has been interesting to see the development of the cleave form so far. In less than 2 months cleave poets have modified and made it their own, making cleave in their own poetic image by cleaving in at least these ways:

  1. fusion
  2. division
  3. seeding
  4. co-operating
  5. using cleave as a meta-form
It has been incredible to see the versatility of the cleave form. Something I had not expected, indeed it is very exciting.

As a summary, here are 11 points. These are my current thoughts on cleave poetics.  I will expand on each subsequently. They are for discussion. Please comment and dialogue.
  1. a foundation for creativity
  2. gives freedom to explore
  3. a framework for that exploration
  4. art fused with craft
  5. focuses on multiplicity of meanings
  6. allows simultaneous seeing of the whole and its parts
  7. synergistic
  8. exercise in poetics and linguistics
  9. a meta-form
  10. poetic maturity
  11. communication and dialogue
Finally here are some thoughts for the future:

  • Potential for multiple cleave forms and ways of cleaving including multilingual cleaves.
  • The cleave in education as a tool around which language can be taught and skills honed.
  • The cleave in poetry as a new poetic form.
  • The cleave as a way of bringing people and cultures together.

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  • Dennis Kelly’s further thoughts on Cleave poetics

    In discussion, submission on October 7, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    CLEAVE POETICS For Phuoc-Tan, Diana, Laurie and Jennifer


    How to write a Cleave poem?

    Write the horizontal poem first.

    Cleave the poem into 2 vertical poems.

    Cleave with hyphens—using your intuition.

    The vertical poems are the zen payoff.

    They’ll read choppy somewhat but intelligent.

    The gestalt one feels is unique because it’s yours.

    It’s your horizontal poem to begin with.

    But the 2 vertical poems are spontaneous.

    Like Mac Low’s diastic impromptu method.

    Except the cleave method is quicker.

    It’s more spontaneous and otherworldly.

    Because it’s you confronting your double.

    Your poetic doppelganger in the NOW.

    The left hand & right hand poems are one.

    They’re not discrete poems.

    They’re the surprise Bingo that happens.

    The left and right poems aren’t stitched together.

    Hunting and picking for combos that fit…

    Cleaving one poem into two—that’s the trick.

    Not stitching two poems into one.

    What I want is surprise, joy and wonder.

    My way gives the poet a double-whammy.

    Cleave collaboration for me is Translation.

    Translating Pound’s Personae, for example.

    Pound put his Anthology poems together for a reason.

    They were his Imagist Manifesto.

    He jump-started the Modernist Movement.

    Eliot and Joyce did too. The three of them.

    With Personae, The Waste Land and Ulysses.

    But Pound did it somewhat differently.

    Thru small discrete poems—rather than Long Poems.

    The Waste Land = Long Elegy

    Ulysses = Long Love Lyric Irish Fairy Tale

    Pound wanted to embrace & extend the Past.

    Eliot and Joyce as well… each did it differently.

    Personae (1926) was Pound’s American Tree (Silliman).

    LangPo Poetry grew once Silliman’s Anthology (1986) came out.

    Personae is a thin little volume—an easy read.

    The American Tree is thick—many machines on Ix.

    Better than those on Richese?

    How to start a Cleave Movement?

    Call it CloPo or maybe CleavePo?

    How about an Anthology?

    An Anthology is like a Baseball Park.

    Build it—and they will come.







    now—my little cleaves

    let us—speak perfection


    let us—elegantly

    tell—our little story


    —based on “Salvationists”

    Ezra Pound’s Personae (1926)






    (“Come, my songs,

    let us speak of perfection—

    We shall get ourselves

    rather disliked.”)


    Now let us show—let us tell.

    Let our little cleaves speak perfection.

    Simplicity—elegantly telling a story.

    Each story—extemporaneous.

    Each story—impromptu.

    Each story—imbued with ad lib.

    Each story—ours to show & tell.


    dennis kelly 9/23/2008

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  • Cleave poem submissions: Dennis Kelly’s thoughts on Cleave poetics

    In discussion, submission on September 17, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Here are some of Dennis Kelly’s thoughts on Cleave poetry.

    Any more thoughts?


    ______—for Phuoc-Tan Diep


    ____________trying it once-trying it again

    blasting the poetic public-with our new cleavages

    _______cleaving that place-in their brains

    they didn’t know existed!-where angels fear to tread!

    ____uncleaving ourselves-poetically speaking

    _starting something new-not knowing where it’s going

    _____trying all the doors-to find openings
    ________that cleave form-pushing our brains


    _____________cleave me!!!-cleave me!!!

    _____LangClo Cleavage

    ___—for Phuoc-Tan Diep

    _______Please-don’t listen to me

    I’m just trying-to charm you

    ____the world-out of you

    ____ out on youinto me




    ___teamwork-The Trinity

    ____________diamond cleavage

    ____cleaving is like = making love
    lying on your back = with her on top
    _doing all the work = cleaving you
    ______perfectly still = like a diamond
    ____the cleave/gem = a diamond haiku


    _each cleave is different—just like making love.
    ____each time is unique—and erotically intense.
    _______each cleave-gem—cleaves the brain perfectly.
    each time is right brain—left brain cleave.
    _right down the middle—splits you in half.
    __each diamond cleave—is yours to keep.
    ____it doesn’t last long—but it’s deep.

    Cleave poems: © 2008 Dennis Kelly

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