Poetry as Presence: Working with Personae

A survivor's manifesto on poetic practice

This piece adopts the voice of public declaration to assert poetic practice as survivable resistance to abuses of power. It proposes that poetry is the best means to identify, expose and reconfigure what is implicit in dominant discourses that discredit the way a survivor of sexual assault may communicate. It is found that a poetic use of language that is allusive, evocative and associative can reinvigorate annihilated perspectives so as to add them to public discourse. Poetic methods can be employed to resist and subvert the supposed supremacy of linear and logical narrative structures considered essential for sense making and validity. Furthermore, they can be employed to excavate family and state histories to resurrect, sometimes from fragments, the perspectives of those that have been silenced.