Colored paper and bits of ribbon, painted scraps and shiny flakes. Collage is usually thought of as a visual art form, but it can be just as exciting in word form! “Found poems”—as they’re otherwise known—use existing texts (quotes, letters, speeches, novels, street signs, recipes, dictionaries, other poems), and combine them into an original work.
T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land
,” uses elements of found poetry—Eliot included newspaper clippings, nursery rhymes, music lyrics and overheard dialogue within his modernist masterpiece. And the poet John Ashbery borrowed lines from more than 40 works for his poem "To a Waterfowl". The numbered list following this stanza shows where Ashbery sourced the lines:
Go, lovely rose,
This is no country for old men. The young
Midwinter spring is its own season
And a few lilies blow. They that have power to hurt, and will do none.
Looking as if she were alive, I call.
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground.
(1) “Sailing to Byzantium” by William Butler Yeats
(2) “Four Quartets 4: Little Gidding” by T.S. Eliot
(3) “Heaven-Haven" by Gerard Manley Hopkins
(4) "Sonnet 94" by William Shakespeare
(5) “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Your turn, dear writers! Write your own word collage about a subject of your choice. As you write, remember that this is your chance to get experimental! What would happen if you followed a sentence from Alice in Wonderland
with a quote from a musician, followed by a snippet of haiku? How can the layers of meaning build on each other, so that by the end of your piece, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? Finally, you might want to number the different parts of your piece, or use white space or asterisks to give your readers a breath/pause between sections. Remember to cite your sources at the end of your found poem, and for some inspiration, check out "candle hearts"
by efflorescence and "From the Person in the Mirror"
by Lia Kares, two of your Peer Ambassadors!