Many months ago I explored both web sites and books in order to learn more about different types of poems. I’ve already posted about the fib. The day I learned about the fib I must have been in the F section of information sites, because I also learned about the found poem.
Found poem? I muttered to myself. Is that the opposite of a lost poem?
No. It isn’t.
According to Wikipedia, which in this case provides a good definition, found poetry is “a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literary equivalent of a collage) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning.” (Emphasis in original.)
Okay, I thought. That’s great. I now know what a found poem is. On to another subject.
Because, you see, I never thought I’d write a found poem. Nothing about found poetry really “called” to me, you know. Perhaps the found poems were out of hearing range.
But life loves to watch us strolling happily along, thinking we’re in charge of our own decisions — and then throw something in our path that makes us do the opposite of what we said we would do.
So it was with me and the found poem.
My husband, Phil Passen, is a musician, and I am his roadie. One day Phil had a three-hour gig at O’Hare Airport, somewhere in the United terminal. I brought along a novel I had almost finished reading.
Sixty minutes later, I did finish.
Two more hours to go on this gig. And I had forgotten to bring a second novel. What could I do? Besides listen to the wonderful music, of course.
I sat there, looking all around.
Words everywhere. On posters, flashing in neon, in windows, on plastic signs, on free-standing sandwich boards, on cardboard boxes, on luggage, on trams creeping by, on suitcases . . everywhere.
So I wrote down maybe half of the words I could see.
And then, even though the Wiki definition does not say that a found poem makes changes in the order of words, my found poem does. I rearranged the words (okay, okay, the spacing and the lines, too, and maybe I even deleted some words) and produced my first (and so far, only) found poem. You could say I found it at O’Hare.
United We Wait
Duty Free Liberty
Concourse C Baggage Claim
Animal Relief Area
Welcome US Customs Require That
From the International Best-Selling Trilogy
Let Us Serve You
Eli’s Cheesecake Chicago
You’re going to need a bigger map
Please Ask for Assistance
Not just leg-room . . . laptop room
Earn Miles and Rewards
Trains to City
Barbara Gregorich’s not-lost poetry can be found in Crossing the Skyway.