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Sunday Scribblings #74: Found Poetry & The Lost Month of July

Another Sunday, and while I hoped to bring back another post from the archives (like this one here as it seemed apt), I decided to simply write a new one (and try to make it quick; not short, as it has a whole bunch of other things as well!). So here is a post that helps (hopefully) solve the mystery of the lost month of July – on my blog, I mean!! But on the other hand, I also talk about found poetry today for Poetic Sundays!!

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Sunday Scribblings #74: Found Poetry & The Lost Month of July

Poetic Sundays: Found Poetry

This week’s Poetic Sundays is all about finding as I wonder where I lost the month of July! So here is a brief introduction to found poetry and the types of found poetry too.

What is Found Poetry?

According to Wikipedia, it is “a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning.”

Annie Dillard states this of found poetry: (ref: FoundPoetryReview)

“Happy poets who write found poetry go pawing through popular culture like sculptors on trash heaps. They hold and wave aloft usable artifacts and fragments: jingles and ad copy, menus and broadcasts — all objet trouvés, the literary equivalents of Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans and Duchamp’s bicycle. By entering a found text as a poem, the poet doubles its context. The original meaning remains intact, but now it swings between two poles. The poet adds, or at any rate increases, the element of delight. This is an urban, youthful, ironic, cruising kind of poetry. It serves up whole texts, or interrupted fragments of texts.”

Put another way, a found poem is purely made up of borrowed words; a literary collage, so to speak.

Types of Found Poetry

Erasure or Blackout Poetry

Both these forms are essentially the same, the difference being how the words in the new poem are highlighted. Erasure, as the name suggests, erases all the other words; while blackout, of course, blacks out all the other words. These can also become visual art if the creator so chooses in addition to being a literary composition.

Cento

This is a poetic form made up entirely of lines from poems by other poets. The word has its roots in the Latin word for ‘patchwork’ (or collage). It can be used as a way to pay homage to other poets while drawing inspiration from their works. Note that the selected lines from those poems remain unchanged but the arrangement of these various lines is what matters and makes the new poem. Don’t forget to credit the original poets/cite the original poems when you write a cento (and don’t forget to share it with me!)

Cut-Up Poetry

The below three forms are very similar, yet have a few specific differences (including word sources, and way words are cut and rearranged)

Dadaist Poem: The central ideas of Dadaism could be summed up with three words —spontaneity, negation, and absurdity— leading to what can only be called ‘creative chaos!’ And you can check out founding member Tristan Tzara’s steps to come up with your own Dadaist poem here (there is also a Dada poem generator to inspire you!).

In short, these steps are:

  • Pick an article (or any source text you want to use – as long as your intended poem)
  • Cut out words/phrases and put them in a bowl/sack
  • Pick out the strips randomly and arrange them in the order they appear
  • Voila – you have your Dadaist poem!

Cut-up and Fold-in: While Dadaist poems can be nonsensical (unless the universe conspires with you as you pull those cut-up words and phrases from that bowl), cut-up and fold-in poems generally make more sense; simply because of how they come about or how poets choose to treat those cut-up words.

Cut-up poems are created by cutting an original text and dividing it into several pieces.  Next, these pieces are rearranged as a new text. Poets could choose to discard a few words if they cannot use them; however, most poets try to reuse all the words but maintain some sort of sense (even rhyme and meter) in the new poem.

The fold-in poem results from putting together two different pages, each one folded vertically in the middle, and placed side-by-side, forming a new poem/text material composed of half of one page and then the other! Read William Burrough’s method here.

Vocabularyclept poem is one which is formed by taking the words of an existing poem and rearranging them into a new poem. Another way to pay homage to a favorite poet/poem!

Other related forms

Resources and References

My Examples

Using a couple I came up with earlier.

Example One

The erasure/color-out poem below is from Chapter 17 of the book ‘Number the Stars’ by Lois Lowry. You can see the MSPaint version of the page after I came up with this poem here.

When Freedom Gleamed
Churchbells rang, people wept
In every window, eyes bright
Flowers on a numbered ground
A memory, discolored, but still with hope
Hope – tended and polished,
Brought music to sound,
People as neighbors, as friends
Singing, dancing
Rejoicing
~Vidya Tiru @ LadyInReadWrites

Example Two

While I noted that this was erasure in the original post (where you can see the page from Alice in Wonderland used for this poem with the highlighted words), it is a combination of both erasure and cut-up poems. I picked a few words from the original text (like erasure does) and then rearranged (like cut-up poems do) just those selected words.

Down the rabbit-hole she fell;
down the Antipathies well.
As her fear began, deep in this tunnel with no end;
so too the knowledge that she was ignorant, not remarkable
or grand.
She said, “Please, I shall never again”,
but no one was listening, not then,
as she still fell,
deep down in this well.

-Vidya Tiru aka LadyInRead@LadyInReadWrites

Recently

On My Blog

Since my last Sunday Scribbling (a whole month and week ago actually!), I did not bring much to the blog – five posts all written in the last week of June. And then July zoomed past me somehow. Things happened, yes, but I do think I could have devoted some time to my blog. Anyways, what is done is done, and I can only hope I don’t have (m)any more lost months going forward (fingers and toes crossed!)

And the Homefront

Well, of course a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. It was one of those months where I experienced everything that encompasses the journey that is life, in one way or the other

Life, All the Way From Birth to Death

Between the Two Ends of Life

I celebrated another birthday and wished many a friend and family member a happy birthday as well. July somehow seems to be birthday month in my family – especially with all generations on my dad’s side! Not a day seems to go by where we are wishing someone or the other a happy birthday. And as we each celebrate becoming one year older, we also celebrate one additional year of wonderful shared memories!!

Do you have similar things in your family and/or friends network where you seem to be wishing people every day of a month or week or any specific time period?

I attended the funeral rites of a close friend from work, who passed away after over a decade-long (13 years, in fact) fight with cancer. He had the strongest willpower and zest for life I have ever seen in people around me; and he inspired many a trip I took (and some I am yet to take). There was not one dry eye left in the church when his 15-yo sang ‘Talking to the Moon‘ by Bruno Mars in his memory. She said that he had always enjoyed listening to her singing.

He and I were (are?) part of a group of colleagues turned friends; while we had all worked in the same company for a few years, we each went in different directions but had continued to meet every few months for lunch except for the last couple of years. As I called each one of them to inform of his passing, I learned of changes in their lives (we hadn’t chatted for the past year too unfortunately); two of them had each become proud grandpas in the interim — one to a sweet little girl and the other to an adorable boy. Yet another had bought a second home.

Everything Else in Between, Including Travel, Food, and More

We planned for and canceled multiple trips (starting east at Miami, Florida followed by Chicago and Denver, Colorado, finally ending at the west coast with Seattle). We finally ended up taking local road trips; one to Fort Bragg and Mendocino (and discovered the beautiful Jackson State Redwood Forest) after dropping our daughter off at her scouting summer camp at Wente scout reservation. Another trip was to San Francisco to see previously unseen sights (and there are so, so many). The last one was down to LA (again previously unseen sights of the zillion that seem to be there) since we were driving down to San Luis Obispo anyway at the end of July for student-led campus tours at CalPoly SLO (my son will be off to college there in a little more than a month from now!)

The Lost Month Found?

Not sure if any of this answered how I lost this month; actually, I know it does not. But somehow time did fly past..

Upcoming

On My Blog and Home Front

With another UBC this month, I am hoping that I will blog often (well, everyday is the goal of this challenge…)

This Week’s Celebrations

The Literary and Close-to-it Celebrations

  • The birthdays this week… Herman Melville on August 1st; Isabel Allende and James Baldwin on the 2nd of August; Leon Uris and P. D. James birthdays on August 3rd; Percy Bysshe Shelley, Jojo Meyeshe, Robert Hayden, and Dennis Lehane on the 4th of August; David Baldacci on Aug 5th; Alfred Tennyson on the 6th; Garrison Keillor on Aug 7th; and ending the week on the 8th with the birthdays of Jostein Gaarder, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Sara Teasdale
  • August 2nd happens to be National Coloring Book Day

The Foodie Celebrations

The Other Celebrations

The Week and Month Long Celebrations (August)

Related Books

Book suggestions related to various aspects of today’s blog

This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links . If you purchase through an affiliate link, I may get a commission at no extra cost to you. Please see the full disclosure for more information. Thank you for supporting my blog.

Wrapping up my Sunday Scribblings

So dear reader, this was it for this post. As always, appreciate and totally welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions on these scribblings on Sunday! And which of these days in this wonderful week do you plan to celebrate? And what about you, dear reader – will you be finding poetry this week?

Linking this to the Sunday Post over at the Caffeinated Reviewer and the Sunday Salon

11 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings #74: Found Poetry & The Lost Month of July

  1. I will use some of the materials you suggest to write a poem; this is a goal of mine right now. I lost June and July so I feel for you.

  2. I love coming here because I always learn something I can use in our Homeschool especially when it comes to teaching my son Poetry. Have a wonderful August and thank you for being here and sharing your Poetry with us.

  3. Too busy for the past few days, even don’t know that there’s a lot of things that need to celebrate for this month. First time to hear about found poetry and I am so happy to learn those types. Thank you!

  4. I can see why you have a lost month. Goodness, you were busy!

    I first learned about found poetry from Austin Kleon. His first book was found poetry.

    Happy birthday! And I hope you are able to return to blogging much more frequently!

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