Sunday, July 20, 2014

Poetry Break - From Ulysses: The Altered Page

In the author's note to Mornings Like This: Found Poems, Annie Dillard (1995) writes:

“Usually 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.” (Mornings Like This)
In Dillard's book, the poets use the bits and pieces of language they found inside new poems. This is a slightly different twist on found poems.  Many years ago, I participated along with 49 other teachers in a series of poetry engagements that after was fashioned into the Stephen Dunn and William Stafford's book, Getting the Knack.  They invited us, mostly English teachers (if I am remembering correctly) to try our hand at the different types of poems. The found poem was among the list. Since then I have use found poems as ways into and out of literature (Things They Carried), as altered art,  and as artful close reading.  Below is another g of it, finding a poem on a age of text in this case a page from James Joyce's Ulysses.

Noon slumbers.
                 I know the voice.
The blue fuse burns          loose.

Spurned lover.
Lover, for her love he prowled.

Loveless, landless, wifeless.

Noon Slumbers (M.A. Reilly, 2014 - p. 43 from Ulysses)

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