Manifesto of the Lyric Selfie

Our “I”s.
They are multiple.
We shuffle them
often as we like.
They can tag us.
We can untag ourselves.
We’ve got our
oh we have
got it.
We peer and cross.
Go lazy.
We’re all girly.
We’re pretty selfie.
We write our poems.
We write our manifestos.
While sitting in the photo booth.
While skipping down the street.
We think: if only my camera
could see me now.
There is a tranquil lyric
but we recollect emotion
with the speed of the feed.
We pose to show
the spontaneous overflow
of powerful feelings.
There are no more countrysides.
There are no more churchyards.
We smudge our vistas.
We flip the cam around.
What is burning in our little hearts?
Hashtags of interiority
licking like flames.
We had been reflective.
We have been reflected.

Copyright © 2018 by Becca Klaver. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 15, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I wrote ‘Manifesto of the Lyric Selfie’ in 2013—the same year the Oxford English Dictionary chose selfie as its word of the year—to speculate about what was going to happen to the lyric I in the age of the selfie. I’m curious about how technology is changing the ways we relate to ourselves and to one another. Maybe we ‘like’ selfies for the same reason we like certain poems—because to see a familiar face or hear an intimate voice from a faraway place or time can feel like being seen or heard ourselves.”
—Becca Klaver