Tuesday, April 7, 2015

PoMoSco!



If you have spoken to me in the past few months, or if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you've probably seen/heard me mention PoMoSco--short for Poetry Month Scout, a project I'm participating in to celebrate National Poetry Month, which is April (at least in the US). PoMoSco is a month-long poetry project being sponsored by the Found Poetry Review. Over 200 participants from around the world are participating, with the goal being to create 30 new found poems each throughout the month of April.

If you're feeling confused and wondering what found poetry is, that's okay. I discovered the concept late in my time in the University of Iowa Creative Writing program and immediately fell in love. Found poetry is a broad term that encompasses many different forms and techniques, but it's basically any form of language re-creation in which the poet takes an existing text and turns it into a new written work. My experience with found poetry, prior to this project, has been limited to erasure, which is when you literally erase or black out lines in an existing text, and what's left behind is your new poem. My favorite erasure/found poem I've ever completed was a combination of two erasures. I first "erasured" the texts from the information boards at an exhibit at the Natural History museum, then combined this with an erasure created from a National Geographic article about Christopher Columbus. What I love about erasure, and found poetry in general, is the many different ways that you can reimagine a text. Sometimes I'll choose to keep the existing theme but try to interpret it in a new way, but what I find even more fascinating is the chance to subvert the existing messages in a text and turn the whole thing on its head (as I did with my Natural History/Columbus text). I have a lot of project ideas floating in my head about ways I'd like to use erasure, so when I heard about the PoMoSco project, I jumped on the opportunity to expand my knowledge of different types of found poetry, and challenge my creativity.

I really encourage you to head over to the PoMoSco website and check out some of the poems--there are SO many talented individuals and so much great work has gone up already! I'll try and do a few posts this month with links to my favorite poems I've completed, so here are my favorites that I've done from the first week:


  • Star Stuff: This was the first badge, "Pick and Mix". This poem was created by reading through my source text and picking out words and phrases I liked and creating a new poem from that, so I could only use words already found in the source text.
  • Wickedness: Back to basics (and my comfort zone), a simple erasure using white-out.
  • You, Remembered: For this badge, "First in Line", I had to compose a poem using only the first lines of poems from an existing poet's book of poems. Punctuation and line breaks could be changed and not all the lines had to be used, but no words could be added or eliminated from the lines used.
I would love to know what you think of them!

NB: The PoMoSco website will only be open to the public April 1st, 2015-April 30th, 2015. If you are reading this post beyond this date, the links above won't work! 

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