I am in the class Writing of Poetry 1 this semester, and while I thoroughly enjoy writing more formal poetry, I like to spice things up by trying out different forms. Two of those trending experimental forms are found poetry and blackout poetry.
Found poetry takes existing texts and refashions them, reorders them, and presents them as poems. Found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems. A pure found poem consists exclusively of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few additions or omissions.
Blackout poetry is poetry made by using a permanent marker to cross out or eliminate whatever words or images the author sees as unnecessary or irrelevant to the effect he or she is seeking to create. The central idea is to devise a completely new text from previously published words and images.
I tried out both of these methods and I think they are a great warm up exercise, creativity booster, time killer, and paper saver! Instead of just tossing away your old newspapers, articles, advertisements, or books, recycle them into poetry (or even art! Collages!).
Here are my first attempts at these two forms of poetry:
“I live a lonely life.
I could not survive
alone. I would burn
or drown. I would not be.
For hours, the noises bothered
me. I was used to the rocking.
The night went by slowly.
The morning was heavy, grey.
My situation would leave nothing
but ache. If you were as I was,
you too would want to soar.”
Newspaper: The Lantern
I love you, you’re perfect, now change.
Change is the track that twists
and turns. “Will our love,” she asks,
“always suffer?” He looks
across the table at his wife of three
decades, contemplating their life together,
and all the friends who’ve gotten divorced.
“I can live with that.” He knows exactly how
to answer, but he’s failed to see
that love is to offer nothing
I didn’t follow the traditional “found poetry” style. Some words in the poem aren’t exactly as I found them, and I didn’t only use this article. I altered words and phrases, and I added my own, which I think is completely fine. This is my own experience and experiment after all!
My favorite edit that I made was taking the interviewer’s last name Stauffer, crossing out the t and a, and making the word suffer. I thought that was clever.
Have you ever created found/blackout pieces? What do you think of them? Search the internet and share some of your favorites with me!