An Artist Statement as a Poet

I never thought I would be plugging the words "artist statement tips" into a search bar.  I'm a terrible painter/sculptor.  I am adequately acquainted with biographical statements.

But, explaining my work almost feels like the way I imagine defending a dissertation might.  I'm already fidgeting without one word set to paper.  I like my work doing the talking.  I am secondary -- no, tertiary behind my work and its relationship with the reader.

Can't a reader just love (or hate) a body of work without the artist getting in the way?  If I explain my poetry, I'm the magician shoving you through the trapdoor, twisting the hidden wires around your wrists, stealing your disbelief and laying it bare.

My poems, in the chapbook I'd be writing the statement for, are fantasical.  They are fun, whimsical.  There are no hard-hitting philosophical undertones.  Does my process matter for (hopefully) entertainment?

Maybe I just can't think of what to say.  I want to keep the statement to the topic of that particular chapbook and not my entire body of work, as anything else would place the editor further from the project.  If I stink at this, I can only hope it won't negatively impact the editor... too much.

Have you ever had to write an artist's statement to accompany your book?  How did it go?


  1. I have not, but then again, I'm a superhero novelist…I'm not sure most venues regard me as an artist who could possibly have a statement :) The closest I've had to do is different kinds of summaries. I agree that writing about the work is harding than just doing the work in any case. Best of luck!

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

    1. Thank you.
      One of the places I'm going to potentially send a chapbook to wants an artist statement. I'd never heard of a publisher requiring one before.