The M(F)A in Non-Poetry would include everything currently called poetry…and more. The M(F)A in Non-Poetry could help get us back in touch with those pre-specialized, “pre-literary” genres (whether high-school journals, diaries, letters never sent, or tweets), when writing was just writing, and freestyling was just freestylin’t to breathe some fresh air into the poet’s only club! The M(F)A in Non-Poetry asks contemporary definitions of poetry and the way it’s distributed to explain why they exclude what they exclude? Why do most poetry reading events seem perfectly content to have 90% poet-identified folks? What about the people who never would have gotten into poetry had they known the audience would be primarily other poets? Or who never would have gotten into it if they didn’t hope to change it from within? The M(F)A in Non-Poetry acts on the realization that: if you want to write poetry for the non-poet, you’ll have to write in genres other than poetry. You’ll have to write non-poetry (though they wouldn’t be called non-poetry if you hadn’t already written or spoken poetry first). This will not be due to any compulsion. The M(F)A in Non-Poetry can make room for those students with civic, “public intellectual” ambitions as well as the aesthete.
Chris Stroffolino is the author of 7 books of poetry, including Speculative Primitive (2005), Scratch Vocals (2003), Stealer's Wheel (1999), and Light As A Fetter (1997) . In 2016, Boog City published his play, AnTi-GeNtRiFiCaTiOn WaR dRuM rAdIo. He also co-authored a study (with David Rosenthal) of Shakespeare's 12th Night (IDG Books, 2001) as well as a collection of essays on (mostly) 20th Century Poetry, Spin Cycle (2000). Recipient of grants from NYFA and the Fund For Poetry, Stroffolino currently teaches at Laney College in Oakland, where he sometimes steals time from grading to write essays and/or poems.