In last month’s post, I mentioned I was going to participate in this year’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). My goal was to write 30 poems in 30 days.
Well, I exceeded that goal: I wrote 41 poems in 23 days! This was quite a surprise, considering that last year, I only wrote about 16 poems during the month of April.
I was going to stop at 41, but then my friend Corrie Haldane suggested that I write one more, which would bring me up to 42. She also suggested doing a “meaning of life” poem. (For those who’ve never read Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books and don’t know the connection between the number 42 and “life, the universe, and everything,” watch the video below.)
I loved the idea, but what kind of “meaning of life” poem should I write? A sonnet? A haiku? An elevenie?
Then while I was spending too much time on Facebook, playing too many “I’ve seen 10 artists but one of them is a lie” games, I decided to have a little fun. I composed a found poem using text from various memes that showed up in my Facebook news feed over a few days.
So without further adieu, here is my poem about life, the universe, and everything. It’s not exactly a prize-winner, but it’s always fun to put something like this together.
a personal idyll,
a special place
free from the
surplus of evil
we have already.
A place where one day
the sadness will end
and you don’t wake up
fighting a battle
you know nothing about.
is just a thought away,
you bring a smile
to your face and say,
This is my life now.
Source: Various memes found on Facebook, April 25-28, 2017.
So late last month, I got my first acceptance of the year. It was for a found poem that will be appearing in Unlost Journal in April.
After receiving the acceptance, I thought, Why not write a post about found poetry?
Since there are plenty of resources about found poetry on the web, I won’t try to define what found poetry is. (Besides Unlost, you should check out Poets.org and the Found Poetry Review.) Instead, my goal here today is to inspire you to try writing found poetry since it is fun to do.
Now, by no means am I a found poetry expert. I still have yet to try an erasure or a cento, but I have had a few pieces published.
Also, there are people who can make a poem out of anything. I’m not one of those people (at least not yet).
However, I did manage to craft a poem using text from a copywriting book. That poem, “Wisdom,” was published in Five 2 One’s #thesideshow.
To create that poem, I picked a random chapter in Joseph Sugarman’s The Adweek Copywriting Handbook (in this case, Chapter 17), and started circling words (or parts of words) and phrases. Some of them were just prepositions (e.g., of, into) that by themselves do not have poetic value but are needed for the poem as a whole. Along the way, I also found some phrases that might be good in a poem; for example, here’s a paragraph from page 103 of Mr. Sugarman’s book (I hope he doesn’t mind if I borrow it):
With less copy, your ad will look less imposing to the prospect and he or she will be more likely to read it. The second advantage is that you are making the slippery slide even more slippery by making it shorter. Your prospect will get to the bottom of the slide much faster, yet still get the full impact on your sales message.
From this, I ended up circling the slippery slide, get to the bottom, and impact. If you read “Wisdom,” you may have noticed that I used all three of these. However, you may have noticed that they’re used with other words that do not appear in the paragraph. These words were taken from other pages in the chapter (e.g., environment, which appears in the next paragraph). Sometimes I add a few words not in the source, but in this case, I only used words from the text. When I do add words, I try to add as few as possible since the idea of found poetry, after all, is to create something new from something already published.
So are you interested in found poetry? Do you have any additional resources you would like to share? Do you have any favorite found poetry books? Let me know in the comments.