Found story-poem

On Ethical ELA this week, host Dave Wooley invited VerseLove participants to compose blackout poems: “Find a piece of writing that you want to use as a source, grab a black sharpie and start redacting. The words that are left will be your poem.”

Basically, a blackout is a found poem, with chosen words and phrases remaining in original order. Examples can be found here: How-To Blackout Poetry.

Great! I thought. This will be easy.

It was not.

The problem: First thing that came to mind was a new poem that completely awes me…

Amy Nemecek, The Language of the Birds, 2022.

I started blacking out lines and stopped, because a thing happened.

I just couldn’t reduce this stunning poem. It felt like…desecration.

Instead, I lifted a few words out that especially sang to me. They brought with them their own images, forming something new and other.

Thus was my “found-story haiku” born (not sure if that’s even a thing… I guess it is now):

History of Ideas

from firelight, a spark
illumination flaring
then dying in dust

from the river, song
improvisational joy
free and beckoning

from the silhouette
of trees against starlit sky
infinite longing

from the heart crying
against its impermanence
a reliquary

from calloused fingers
a hieroglyph on a wall
before papyrus

from the weightless bones
a shell of structure is formed
the embryo stirs

out of the static
spark, song, longing are harnessed
the fragile thing lives

For the record: I finished blacking to reveal the words I pulled, although this in itself is not a blackout poem.

It is my seed-bed of ideas.

2 thoughts on “Found story-poem

  1. Found haiku is a thing. My writing friend Linda Mitchell has done it. I love in this form how you distilled the verse and repeated the word from. There is beauty and comfort in becoming one with another poet’s poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are ever the encourager, Margaret! You add so much poetry-color to the world. Tonight I was watching the Nature show on PBS, an episode called “The Hummingbird Effect” set in Costa Rica, and I thought of you and the lovely photos you sent me. You bless me and others so thoroughly with your words and artistry. Thank you-

      Liked by 1 person

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