Found poetry is the discovery of hidden words and phrases in text that was written for another purpose entirely–a catalog or magazine article, for example. The poem is not found all together, you’ll find a word here, a few more six lines down.
I find this accidental discovery a perfect match for raw art--which is drawing abstract patterns that are pleasing, exciting, soothing, or engaging. Both are a discovery and both result in the creation of something new.
You can make up a variety of rules to make found poetry more challenging–mine are simple: You choose a set number of pages from a catalog, book, or magazine and find words or phrases that, when cut out and placed next to each other, make poetry. No fair using song lyrics or pieces that are already poetry.
Be careful to cut out words that are grammatically correct in the place you want to use them. That might mean cutting out extra letters. Because you are creating a collage the words can be different typefaces, sizes or colors.
Then you add raw art–in this case a repetitive topographical pattern, with a suggestion of plant life, to match the seasonal theme of the poetry and to emphasize the word “freedom” and the tribal feel.
Time around us moves faster.
The seed that was sown 20 years ago
sweeps into the season raw-edged and tribal.
New growth, striped in rich autumnal hues,
moving to a new feeling and a new freedom
All the words in “Horizon Dust” comes from a variety of clothing descriptions in two pages of the Sundance fall catalog.
—Quinn McDonald is a writer who stands in the middle ground between words and illustrations, believing they both make meaning and create art. © Quinn McDonald, 2009 All rights reserved