Two more poems from nonpoetic sources.
I put the source of the first one after the poem itself, because I’m curious how easily you can tell what it’s about. Please leave a comment letting me know.
This poem was—how shall I say?—carved out of an article in the January 2017 Vogue, describing its author’s ambivalence about having plastic surgery, then having it anyway. Sorry, no link—it isn’t online. And I don’t have a copy of the original page because it wasn’t my magazine and I didn’t feel I could rip out the pages.
This next one comes from an interview in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.
In these days especially, I appreciate this generous, even open-hearted posture. Here’s one of the original pages:
These are such fun to do, and they’re easy. So I wondered why this form worked right away for me, while it didn’t for my mentee, who’s a really good poet but had difficulty getting the hang of it.
I decided it has to do with my long experience as an editor, book doctor, and ghostwriter. I’ve trained myself to spot the evocative, resonant phrases in a disorganized mass of text. I can perceive the underlying logic of a disordered string of sentences and reassemble them to express it. And I’ve learned to write and edit in other people’s voices (notably, writing an entire book in the he-man voice of a gym rat and bodybuilder). In the same way, a found poem distills an original text into an essence. At least I feel these do, in a weird way.
I suspect that in the hands of a real poet, found poetry would be a whole lot more, but I’m happy just to discover a knack for something I never thought I could do.