Tag Archives: Found Poem

The Wind Shifts

21 Oct

Come, thief
whispering to fool the wind
invitation to a secret feast
power & possibility.

The unfolding center,
divine nothingness,
domain of perfect affection

If one of us should fall
faster than light
don’t let me be lonely.

I spent a lot of time browsing the pop-up poetry bookstore at the Dodge Poetry Festival, both yesterday and today. One of my favorite things is to read and collect the titles of poetry books, and then try to assemble them into a poem. I walked around with my notebook and jotted down the titles that sounded interesting to me. This poem is the product of that exercise.

My sincere thank you and apology to those poets whose book titles I skimmed with my little net.

Berl’s Poetry Shop (a found poem)

12 Oct

This is what it is like
to be loved by me
cinema of the present
in the circus of you
cutting time with a knife
making dying illegal.

The woman in this poem,
citizen, unleashed, not nothing.
You must look hard
to see what’s there
I am you this morning
you are me tonight

Anything could happen
in the presence of absence
one sleeps, the other doesn’t
technically, it is not my fault.
The French exit:
thanks and sorry and good luck

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This poem is a found poem, composed entirely of titles of poetry chapbooks for sale at Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop in DUMBO (Brooklyn, NY). Berl’s is devoted to selling poetry books and chapbooks produced by small press publishers. I visited Berl’s for the first time this past Friday morning. As part of the events of the annual Poets Forum, held in New York by the American Academy of Poets, we were treated to a Brooklyn Poetry Walk led by Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang. Berl’s was the first stop on the tour, which took us to the waterfront, where we read Walt Whitman’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, and to Cave Canum where we heard two readings by some excellent and up-and-coming young poets.

I love creating found poems, and book title poems in particular. Titles are very important, and authors spend a lot of time choosing the titles of their books, so I think it’s neat to find interesting titles and weave them together. As I was surrounded by hundreds of poetry chapbooks at Berl’s , I couldn’t help but think that of all book titles, poetry book titles are probably the ones with the most thought put into crafting them.

To all the poets whose titles I used in this poem: thanks (and sorry, and good luck).

UPDATE: A few readers wanted to know the process by which I did this. Usually, I pull books off the shelves and then rearrange them to create the poem. I stack them up and take a photo, then write out the poem in a post, like this example from a few years ago: The Lovers (a found poem). However, I felt kind of funny just pulling books off of the shelves at Berl’s, because they are arranged in a certain way and I didn’t want to disturb that. So, this time I just walked around the store and jotted down a list of the titles that jumped out at me. That part of the process is the “found” part. I try to just let the titles hit me so I have a good list of interesting titles to use for the poem. Then, when I actually wrote the poem, I read over my list of titles and just started playing around with combinations and order. I am a bit of purist, so I don’t alter or truncate the titles in any way. Also, I use the whole title, one per line, or in the case of one word titles, I will separate those by comma. There were a number of two line titles that I kept two lines in the poem. Lastly, I did not add any extra words to the poem apart from the titles.

Here is a photo of my journal where I wrote the list of titles that I selected so you can see how I fit them into the poem.

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This Idea Must Die (American Sentences)

24 Jul

This idea must die:
The Tao of Twitter
Calming your angry mind.

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A found poem at my local library, culled from the “newly released” bookshelf.

American Sentences are a type of modern haiku invented by Allan Ginsburg. They are Sentences with 17 syllables and can be solo or in groups.

The Lovers

7 Oct

beautiful boy
I know just what you mean
There is no me without you
Hungry ghosts
Joined at the heart
The elephant in the room
Song of the tides
The hidden messages in water
I thought it was just me
(but it isn’t)

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Inspired by Sorted Books Poetry in Book Titles by Samuel Peralta on Dverse

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