Found Poetry Review features—you guessed it—found poetry. Borrowing text from anything from tweets to speeches and newspaper articles to books, the magazine is a fruitful collage of collages.
The very first poem in the collection, “The Man Who Tastes Through Life” by Danielle Jones-Pruett, is what drew me in to want to read this issue. The found material comes from statements compiled by J. I. Wannerton’s website. Containing delicious imagery of food, the prose poem is about James who lives “in a two-story townhouse, mashed potatoes, a fruit gum block.” The very best phrases are, “The only girl I’ve ever loved, milk. It spoiled.” as well as the last ones: “I still remember granny’s lap—pear drops, furniture polish, the sleeve of my favorite train pajamas, chewed into the night.”
Kristen Shaw’s “Aphasia Lecture” takes words from a guest lecture on neurological cognitive and language disorders. Short and sweet, it leaves you thinking. The line breaks make it so that it is read a certain way—that is until you move on to read the next line. Take for example the end of the poem:
When you hear
a dog bark, you
about dog. The dog
isn’t lost. It’s not about loss.
In Jennifer Saunders’s “The Skin Is Not Just Skin,” each line is from a different poem. Here, arrangement goes beyond determining line breaks and which words to include. Saunders draws from a number of pieces for inspiration and must match the lines together so that they read well and make sense. The last two stanzas borrow text from Marge Piercy, Susan Rich, Jack Gilbert, Sarah Vap, David Baker, Adrie Kusserow, and Traci Brimhall:
The second time I tasted you I thought:
And the newness after that, and newness again,
the litter of blue-gold,
of air and silver and oh God you.
When did we drift into each other’s arms,
nudging each other blindly in the brilliant dark?
I open like a poppy
in your hand and the answer is yes.
Monica Wendel contributes two poems that come from personal emails and GChat conversations between her and another person. This certainly sounds fun, though I doubt the conversations I have with my friends are quite as lively as some of the lines in her poetry. For example, in “Collage II (Gifts)” the first two lines read, “Shower us with your gifts of bronze / skinned bots and humans holding hands.” And the last lines of “Collage IV (Humboldt Street)” are “. . . We’re keeping / things magical, carefully with slow hands / so as not to bruise, waiting for the ground to break.”
And for an even more comical take on found poetry, Joyce Peseroff shares a poem quoting students responses from a creative writing lesson prompt. The title of the poem is “Baby Shoes, Never Worn” and starts, “Look what that bitch’s selling on eBay!” Another line(s) read “. . . But didn’t / her sister tell me the baby / was born without feet.”
Other contributors include Cathryn Andresen, Annabel Banks, Paul Calavitta, Chris Cannella, Maria Cohut, Angela Croft, Deborah Dungan, Deborah Hauser, Paul Hostovsky, Andrea M. Lockett, and more. Reading through the contributor bios, I was impressed by the distance the magazine covers—contributors live in or are from Washington, North Carolina, California, Massachusetts, and even London, Wales, Cornwall, Switzerland, and Italy.
Remixing is certainly a different art form, but it is no less artful or poetic. I love being able to see what the poets have found in the everyday.