Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Poetry Challenge #4: Found Poem

Okay, folks, 

I thought I would give us a break from scrutinizing our word choice and worrying about syllable counts to bring you one of my favorite forms of poetry: the found poem.

A found poem is sort of the literary equivalent of a collage. A true found poem is actually writing you found somewhere else, whether that is an advertisement, a conversation, a novel, speech, or even another poem. True found poems do not add any new words to what was found, but the punctuation and line breaks are up to the poet. If necessary, you can change verb tenses, pronouns, etc. to fit what you want the poem to look like. Ezra Pound (in his Cantos) and T.S. Eliot (in The Waste Land) worked pieces of literature into these larger poetic works, but found poetry can be much shorter as well. One of my favorite examples of found poetry comes from William Carlos Williams.

This Is Just To Say 
by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten 
the plums 
that were in 
the icebox 

and which 
you were probably
for breakfast  

Forgive me 
they were delicious
so sweet 
and so cold

As you can see, this sounds like a note someone left on the refrigerator door or on the kitchen table to explain what had happened, but Williams plays with the formatting to make it into a poem. I love that! You can see another example of a found poem on my husband Bill's blog here.  There is a more thorough description and more examples available at Poets.org. I have that site bookmarked, there is a ton of good stuff there!

For my own example, because I have already had various of his songs running through my head since the news of his death took over the TV airwaves, I chose to pull lines from many different Michael Jackson songs to create a found poem. I originally planned to only use one line from each song, but some of the songs have such short "lines" that I grabbed several. I also tried to keep to songs that were love-themed, and ones that Michael actually wrote himself. Hopefully it works.

On Love (after M. Jackson)

Eternal (ah eternal) love shines in my eyes (ooh)

There’s a magic that must be love

You got to be startin’ somethin’

Cause I can thrill you more than any ghost who would dare to try

Every night she walks right in my dreams

She said I am the one who will dance on the floor in the round

And be careful of what you do cause the lie becomes the truth

Electric eyes are ev’rywhere

You're every wonder in this world to me

You're just a product of loveliness

And the whole world has to answer right now

You’re just another part of me

Each time the wind blows

I hear your voice so

I call your name

We were so young

And innocent then

There’s a place in

Your heart

And I know that it is love

I can’t let her get away

Now I believe in miracles

And a miracle

Has happened tonight

Kiss me and free me

You're always in my heart

You rocked my world, you know you did 

All I gotta say is that I must be dreaming, can’t be real 

You help me understand 

That love is the answer to all that I am

Well, there you have it. I hope you have fun looking at the world through a poet's eyes this week, and please share what you find here!


Bill said...

okay, I love the Michael Jackson poem. Nice job!
I'll have to find some other dumb baseball announcer to force myself to watch so I can do another one. :)

paige said...

This looks hard! i'm on holidays, but i'm still tempted... gotta think on this one.

Minerva said...

Thanks, sweetie!

And, Paige, it isn't THAT hard. Just look around you and see if you can find something poetic that isn't in a poetry book. Then steal it and bring it here! :)

Mimi said...

Shopping for a Cause

Across the country
Goodwill is competing
for shoppers with a keener eye,
And sometimes deeper pockets.

Prada bags for $200
on Goodwill's website,
A Pucci shirt for $800.
Selective price hikes
support nonprofit's core mission.

She held up the little black dress
as the salesman courted,
"I'm seeing a 60's girl".
They might have been in
A Manhattan citadel of chic -

But they were in Chelsea,
spelunking for treasures
at the Goodwill store on
West 25th street.

Mimi said...

The content for 'Shopping for a Cause' came from the New York Times
FASHION & STYLE | June 11, 2009
Look Who's Shopping Goodwill

Minerva said...

Mimi--you yourself have been spelunking for treasures in the newspaper! 1,000 points for your keen eye.

Future contributors: it is customary to try and attribute the original source or author of found poetry under or next to the title of your poem. Sorry I forgot to mention that!

Alicia said...

The world has lost her way again.
The dreaming tree has died.
So here we stand,
But we stand for nothing.
I know troubles, they may come and go,
But I ain't waiting
for the world to change.
I am no hero,
Oh that’s for sure…
We'll turn this better thing to the best;
We'll make the best of what's around.

Made from Dave Matthews Band lyrics, written by Dave Matthews.

Alicia said...

Sun will shine no matter what I do.
If these walls came crumbling down,
Oh, rain on my head.
Dark clouds may hang on me sometimes,
But I'll work it out.

So I wonder this;
Was I a fool to think
We would lie in our graves
Dreaming of things that we might have been?
Don’t let the troubles
In your head steal
Too much time you’ll soon be dead.

Loving life now!
Living on top of
A world so full of mystery.
There are bad times,
But that's ok.
Life is short, but sweet
For certain.

Another made from Dave Matthews lyrics. (Can you tell I'm a fan? He has such poetic songs.)

Minerva said...

I agree, DMB has always had good lyrics. I recognized "Dreaming Tree" right away.

Lessee, 1,000 points for excellent arrangements, and 1,000 more for finding choice lines from the songs.

Thanks for sharing again!

paige said...

Ever Adequate?


all right, capable, comfortable,


competent, decent, equal,


passable, requisite, satisfactory,


suitable, tolerable,unexceptional,



(content "found" on Thesaurus.com - synonyms for adequate)
(i've got another one on the go - but at least now, i tried one - does it count?)

Mimi said...

Yay, Paige! Being on holiday isn't slowing you down at all.

Minerva said...

Paige--1,000 points for a poem both interesting and educational. I am a word nerd myself so I love thesauruses. (Thesauri?) Hmm, I'll have to look that one up. Way to go doing this while on holiday!

Minerva said...

for the record, the plural of thesaurus can be *either* thesauruses or thesauri. :)

Alicia said...

I love it, Paige! So glad you were able to do it :)

Mimi said...

Sarah's Straight Talk
from Gail Collins, The New York Times July 4, 2009

Sarah Palin has come
a long way.
When she ran
for Vice President,
she frequently became
disjointed and garbled when
departing from prepared remarks.
Now the prepared remarks
are incoherent, too!

"A problem with our country today
is apathy.
It would be apathetic to hunker
down and go with the flow.
Nah, only dead fish go with the flow."

Basically the point is Sarah
is quitting the governor's mansion
because she's not a quitter.
Or a deceased salmon.

"I choose to work very hard
on a path for fruitfulness
and productivity."
Turns out, the only way
for that to happen
Is for her to end her term

People, what is
going on with governors
in this country?
Are we doomed
To see them go bonkers
State by state?

Minerva said...

Mimi--another 1,000 points for finding the poetic in the sometimes mundane news. I'd give you some for winning your age division in your 5K today but I guess that's not really fair. :)