In the winter of 2011, Fern Thompsett and myself, were joking about how self-indulgent poetry can be. Like "did you get my profound metaphor?" "I can use words with LOTS OF SYLLABLES!" and basically taking the piss.
From that we thought how funny it would be if we wrote some poems, MAXIMALIST POEMS, that were basically us standing there going "hey I'm a very intelligent person please validate me for being so intelligent! Yeee!"
I performed my first "Maximalist" poem at the 2011 QLD State Poetry Slam..
From there it really got some weight behind it.
Cameron Logan jumped on board and has written a number of Maximalist poems, the most famous being his "Ipswich!" piece. Stef Petrik accused all the men in the room of being murderers. K-Dawg down in Melbourne wrote about being a maximalist coz she lives life to the max. Archie has written a carnivorous feast upon the literary elite. Michael Cohen did one at the Brisbane Slam heats this year and it was a highlight of the night: "This is my sad poem, I am sad, this is my happy poem, I am happy..."
Fern wrote me one for my birthday, it had ninjas in it and is therefore the best poem ever.
The wikipedia explanation of maximalist art is a wank. sooooo wanky.
Maximalist Poetry is the most direct path to your point. It doesn't cover it with anything other than an explanation... or something... It takes the piss out of anything that could be intelligent.
And while I have struggled to keep from "owning" the term or the art form at all (it is something anyone can and should do), I'd like to let you know what I think a maximalist poem is:
1- It is usually read. Mess it up, make mistakes, read it. It's not a polished performance.
2- It is usually done in a monotone voice. Very little inflection or pausing. You're not reading a 'poem'. You're being a maximalist. What the hell is a comma?
3- It is usually done with a shouty-ish volume. You are a maximalist, not a haiku poet or a rising slam star. Just be loud all the time so it annoys soft-voiced poets and thumbs its nose at the poetry slam "mountain" (the rise and rise and rise and then sharp fall in volume of every slam poem ever).
4- be unafraid and unapologetic in your writing. Self-involved, politically motivated and "important" poets, whether performance based, blog based, page based, avant-garde based blah blah are there to be ridiculed. But most of all, ridicule yourself. Don't be prejudiced you arse, but don't be soft and PC like everyone else. Fuck with em.
5- have fun. It's meant to be fun. And a good maximalist poem is really really fun. Funny. Funnimungus.