I love serendipity! There I was, looking for something or someone poetical for National Poetry Month and BAM. I nearly tripped over Robyn Hood Black who coincidentally has been published in the recently released, The Arrow Finds Its Mark–A Book of Found Poems. And she has serendipitously (not to mention graciously) agreed to step up to the blog plate and share all the details! So, here’s Robyn:
Okay, I’m supposed to be talking about found poems – and I will! – but first I have to share that TODAY is National Haiku Poetry Day. Cathy knows I’m addicted to haiku. Or, she does now. It just so happens that my very latest haiku publications are actually in an online journal dedicated to senryu (and kyoka and haiga). To oversimplify things, senryu and kyoka share the same basic structure as haiku and tanka (short poetry of Japanese origin), but they deal more with HUMAN nature than Mother Nature, and they are often humorous.
Here are my two poems hot-off-the-virtual-press from Prune Juice:
the distant hum
of a leafblower
back to school
nip in the air
of my teenager
Prune Juice, Journal of Senryu, Kyoka & Haiga, Spring 2012
If I’m going to trumpet the virtues of haiku on Cathy’s blog, it seems appropriate to pick the humorous variety.
(You can read more about haiku on the HAIKU page of my website, and on my guest post on Laura Shovan’s “Author Amok” blog from last week.)
Now, back to found poems. I’m thrilled that my poetry has just been published in an anthology, THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK – A BOOK OF FOUND POEMS, edited by the fabulous Georgia Heard and illustrated by Antoine Guilloppé (Roaring Brook Press). Honestly, my knees still get a little weak when I see some of the rock-star poets’ names included in this collection.
What’s a “found poem”? Essentially, it’s a poem created from material – written, or perhaps even heard – that was not intended to be poetry. One of my poems in the collection came from crossword puzzle clues in a fourth-grade language arts workbook. (I featured this poem on my blog earlier this month.)
Georgia Heard writes in the introduction:
“You might be interested in seeing how each poet’s process was different: some poets chose to splice words together from a single source and make a kind of word collage, as in Robyn Hood Black’s “We See with These”; others took words intact and in order and simply changed the line breaks and added a title, like Avis Harley’s “Lawn Talk”; and other poets took words from multiple sources on one theme, as in Bob Raczka’s “Places I’d Love to Van Gogh Someday.”
I suggested to Cathy that perhaps we feature my other poem from this book today, and I warned her that it was “slightly weird.” You can guess Cathy’s response:
“You know I LOVE the weird, right?”
In an interview with Georgia Heard on the amazing Sylvia Vardell’s “Poetry for Children” blog last week, one of the questions posed by her graduate student interviewer, Kori Parkinson, was:
What do you find as the strangest/most unique place a poem used in this collection was found?
One the most unique places where a poem was found is Robyn Hood Black’s poem “Battling Beams” found in a Funopolis LASERTAG Results Report, folded up on a counter in the laundry room.
I had originally submitted this poem with the boring title, “Laser Tag,” and Georgia expressed interest but wondered if I could come up with a better title. So it was re-christened “Battling Beams.”
Now, if you don’t have kids or teenagers who play laser tag, this poem will likely leave you scratching your head. And it might, even if you do! Laser tag involves Star Wars-like action and glow-y lights and space-y sounds, and points are scored if you “hit” someone on an opposing team. Teams are represented by a color, with members making up their own individual names.
Thanks to my son, Seth, for attending a laser tag birthday party and leaving me fodder for a poem, folded up in the laundry room. And for taking the accompanying photo in said laundry room (and, not really knowing the backstory, wondered why in the world I wanted him to take a picture in the laundry room?!)
By Robyn Hood Black
CODE NAME: DeathEater
Green Red Blue
you hit 4 7 hit you
you hit 14 5 hit you
you hit 29 8 hit you
Bubbagump, Darth Vader, Terminator,
Megatron, Voldemort, Snape,
Bella Edward Jacob,
Green Red Blue
The Arrow Finds Its Mark, Georgia Heard, ed., Roaring Brook Press, 2012
(Told you it was weird!) Thank you so much for having me here, Cathy, and HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!
And thank you, Robyn! Serendipitously, I actually understand haiku and your found poems!
Oh, I love the backstory (as well as the poem!) on the Laser Tag piece. Also, I guarantee I will think of your leafblower haiku the next time a neighbor starts his up at 7 am on a weekend (ommmmmmmmmm)…
We need a Like button for blog comments, Vicky-;-)
The perfect find for April. I love to idea of finding poems in material that wasn’t meant to be poetry. There is something so creative about poets. They see shapes and colors in places where many of us see some little bit of nothing-worth-considering. And then they pull out material and move it around until the picture has some meaning. Very cool.
Well said, Sally! Poets see the world through different glasses, don’t they?
The two poems in Prune Juice are two of my favorites. Of course, your poems appeal to me because they are short. In “Battling Beams” I discovered something about the game. My son plays games on his device like your son does.
Patricia, I feel the same way about short poems. 😉
Thanks for stopping by today!
You are welcome, Cathy. I like long poems, too, but when you are reading online it’s easier to read them.
Oh, it’s a Breezer party here in the comments section! Thank you, Vicky, Sally, and Patricia, for popping in on Cathy’s fabulous blog today and leaving these lovely comments. And, Vicky, next time I hear a neighobor’s early morning leaflblower, I’ll be thinking of you thinking of this ‘ku. ;0)
And thanks for stopping by as well, Robyn–you made this party happen, you wild and crazy poetess! 😉
Great post and poems! And I love the idea of a “word collage.” 🙂
Thank you, Madeline! I peeked at your great blog – love those tortoises.
Now, see? I always want to call them tortii…
(I love Madeline’s blogging energy!)