Found Poetry

So Gabi’s post about Google Poetics made me think about found poetry. Found poetry has always been a bit of an enigma to me. Is it lines found and arranged? How much is taken, rearranged, omitted? How much belongs to the poet, how much is sourced out?

It reminds me of blackout and whiteout poetry, but with a touch more set structure. From my own understanding, found poetry can be inspired from a line or two, and generated from a quote surrounding it, such as Carey McHugh’s owl poems. So, here are a few lines/etc from anthropology texts for inspiration:

The Witness Was a Maggot

The Dirty Dozen

The Pathologist’s Garden

Perfecting The Postmortem Clock

Incisor crowns are flat and crown-like

Nonhuman animal

Gross Anatomy of Bones

Surgical Neck


Feel free to use any of these as a jumping off point

Google Poetics

You  might have seen this before but here is a blog that uses google searches to make found poems. I think some of these aren’t organic however I don’t think that’s the point. It’s interesting to think about a poem that uses common searches as humorous and also as a point of solidarity. Some of these are extremely sad and some are are pretty poignant.


I tried a few myself and my favorite was this one:

yesterday I

yesterday i saw a lion kiss a deer

yesterday instrumental

yesterday in spanish

yesterday is gone

Try some and see what you come up with! post your fave!


Listening Booth!

So I was trying to find some cool poetry stuff to write about and I happened upon this great collection of audio recordings in the Woodberry Poetry Room. Go to the link and you’ll find a list of many recognizable names reading their work and sometimes just speaking with someone. After watching the documentary “Listen to Me, Marlon,” a wonderful documentary about Marlon Brando that uses recorded tapes that he recorded as a coping mechanism for his personal trials and interviews, I’ve been a little obsessed with audio recordings of famous artists. The director then used these tapes as a way to get through his life and used mostly images of him and clips of him behind scenes of movies and being interviewed. I feel extremely attached to this way of experiencing an artist because the experience of hearing the artist in your ears is such a unique one. Often times these recordings have subtle place markers like echoes, audience reactions, laughing, and sometimes the artist will pause or get caught up in what they’re saying. We spoke about how reading a poem aloud can create a different poem so this collection is even more interesting because most of them take place in the same room. A lot of these poetry readings have Q&As and the writers often relate how they came to write their poems. I think this is wonderful because it really draws out that our favorite poets are usually our favorite thinkers and philosophers.

I also think that as these recordings are all taking place in the same room this creates a virtual experience of time and place. For the imaginative writer this can be really evocative experience. It is intimate because unlike a reading you do not get dressed up to listen to an audio recording of Charles Olsen or Ezra Pound. You sit in your pajamas and the experience is recreated for the personal you. There are also photos of the room so it really brings it alive, at least it did for me.

Go! Listen to some poets in this space!


P.S. I realize there are not that many women are POC in this list, but that wasn’t new news.

The Square Stanza

If we’re talking about the stanza as a room, this version of the stanza is a maze. So the way it works is that the stanza is the same across as it is down kind of like a sudoku. I got a really looming feeling from this because words are repeated diagonally from each other so it feels like an echo while you’re reading. I think conjures the feeling of not being able to escape or having to re-navigate. I also think that as a curiosity you want to read the stanza twice to make sure it really is repeating itself again so the second read is more of a second take or a sort of deja vu. This one is by Lewis Carol.


I think that Lewis Carol’s poem here is a good fit because he seems perpetually bothered by the she, which is highlighted by the use of “often.” I think other kind of poems that would be great for this form would be about themes that need revisiting and imitate restlessness. I think personally I would use this form to write about moments in social situations when I realize that the situation has been affected by gender norms.

I                  am                here,

am               I                   lonely

here,          lonely            now?


It also really makes for a fragmented feeling as it’s difficult to find a sentence that fits perfectly both ways.

I challenge you guys to try a short one too!

Remember Rhymes?

So I thought I would share this website that generates all kinds of rhymes and takes alliteration into consideration. I don’t usually use rhyme however I really like this website because it considers syllables, alliteration, half-rhyme, and sometimes some pretty good themes? So just in case you were considering using more rhymes in your revisions.








Good luck with finals!

Literary Journal/Magazine Themes

I was paging through a variety of literary journals and magazines today just looking for something good to read or submit to and I realized that it was just fun reading the concepts or themes of the journals and magazines. One called 3Elements gives three words as prompts and the submissions need use those words in some way. This is really interesting to me because I always think of journals and magazines as places to put your just happened to be done work. This one is super generative, as are many many more I’m finding. So that made me think about how I would want to frame a journal and or magazine.

If I was making a journal inspired by this semester in poetry I think I would call it ‘Formal Wear’ however all the prompts or themes would be about challenging form. I think I would accept essays about form or challenging form (hopefully some that completely contradict each other), and then maybe only poems that were either breaking form or making new forms. Maybe the writer would need to submit a little description of the form as they see it and why they chose to break it? I don’t know but paging through the different themes really made me think about what writers want to read and why that’s important. I think as writers we want to justify and validate why we take risks and have our own style by reading other people. We also learn every time we read whether it be about an emotion we didn’t know we felt or a style choice we would have never tried. I think again this makes me feel that art is an ongoing collaborative work that no one can claim on their own and that doesn’t take away from authenticity.

If you were asked to generate an idea for a journal or magazine tomorrow what would your theme be? Why would you want that theme? What would other writers get from your journal?

Cool Places for Poets to Share!

As everyone knows, I’m a huge Mary Lambert fan.  Her music is poetry, but her poetry is so transcendent and beautiful I just want to bathe in a ceramic tub full of it.  She’s also a wonderful lady, and I want to share her poetry blog with you!  Every week, she does different themed days and shares poetry she receives in the form of submissions, and some of the poems I’ve found there have been amazing inspiration. For example, a poem from today’s post:


‘You know, if you hurl clay with the right velocity at a cement pavement, it sounds almost delicate.

The blue mosaic pot that you made during the summer you said I need to keep busy.
You’d said, I’m recreating the ocean, in concentration your tongue curling like a wave over your lip.
Cyan and azure and aquamarine and deep, black-blue.
Palms scratched and running red rivers.

The red sea parting.

Hands soaked.

I had always been a horrible swimmer.

Après moi, le déluge.'”

She also shares some of her own poems, which are heartbreaking but always poignant.  If you’re ever in need of inspiration, give her blog a looksie!


Service Job Poetics

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the issues that exist within the service industry, particularly the ways in which class and race intersect in workplaces where the employees make minimum wage, or close to it.  I’ve been writing poems about the oppressive atmosphere of the service job, and how working with other people creates a hierarchy of value between humans.  To me, the ways we treat other people when we’re the privileged party really highlights the underlying hierarchies we have in place in corporate  America.  I really want to include poems like “crazy uncle floyd” in a larger group of critical American poetry, but I’m wondering if maybe these two subjects exist as separate themes?  I mean, a demeaning service economy isn’t only a part of daily life in the USA, it exists as a larger part of the capitalist machine.  At the risk of sounding preachy, I do want to broach this topic in my poetry, and I’m wondering if poems like “crazy uncle floyd” belong in that group, maybe as a beginning or an end?  Is it easy to draw from “crazy uncle floyd” ideas about the widening gap between rich and poor, the American working class, etc? Does the poem stand alone well enough that companion pieces drawing on similar topics seem superfluous?

Trying Black Out Poetry

I tried black out poetry, which I had never tried before! Besides getting maybe a little high from the Sharpee fumes, it was fun and challenging. I had to really find a page that would need to be a black out poem and therefore themes that would have to do with space in this way. So I found this book called Future Shock, totally free, and paged through. I did find one that had the word horizon in all caps and decided to use the horizon as an image that uses light and receding light. I only realized this after I saw the words “nearby city” and then decided to think about a scene with both a horizon and a city and how the two exchange light in a way as night falls. Here is my poem! If you don’t get any of these themes from it I don’t blame you. I do recommend trying the black out poem though! I tried another one but the image wouldn’t load correctly. HOrizon black out poem



Can Multilingual Poetry be Based on Sound?

I’ve been listening to a lot of music in languages I’m not fluent in lately, and I’ve been spending time wondering about poetry that uses language the author isn’t fluent in.  Is it enough to value the language sonically, or does the poet have to know the meaning behind the words they are using? Is it enough for a poet to want to play with language and sound, or does writing in another language involve a certain amount of responsibility on the part of the author to familiarize them self with those words? On one hand, I want to say that poetry for the sake of sound should be just as reverent as poetry with the word itself and its meaning in mind, but I also know that what I value as a poet isn’t necessarily what other people value.

For example, I’ve been spending a lot of time with French music, simply because the sound of the syllables is so foreign to the way we speak English, and the speaking itself seems less precise and more intuitive.  I really appreciate the way that letters on the page in French don’t necessarily translate to sounds we make with our mouths, and the ways that sounds can change, even with languages that use the same alphabet.  If I were to incorporate some French words I’ve had floating around in my head, words I’ve heard in songs and that I love the sound of, would it be wrong for me as a poet to include those words because I’m not aware of their meaning?  Or is the sound of a word enough of an explanation for its inclusion?  This has been a question I’ve puzzled over for a long time, and I’d really like to hear from other poets (and non-poets) on this issue!