don’t have different pasts.
We’re all homeless
(a particular set of circumstances).
“I’m here to make friends.”
I could hold my own there.
It wasn’t lost on me.
I’m still not sure how it started.
Source: The Girls Guide to Homelessness: A Memoir by Brianna Karp, page 122
Method: I was in the middle of a long stretch of writer’s block. To get out of the doldrums, I began attempting to write in various places around town – just in the hopes that a change of scenery would make the muse curious enough to come near me again. I tried coffee shops, restaurants, various public and private spaces. While at the public library struggling with the blank page in front of me, I began to scan the stacks for the words of others. I had read quite a bit of erasure poetry but had never tried my hand at it. I picked out a couple of books somewhat randomly from nearby my table and quickly took to disassembling them. Most of those first day attempts were bad – really bad. But this one came quite smoothly (and nearly whole in its first pass, surprisingly enough). Happily, working my way through revising this piece broke open a few lines of my own for the first time in a long time as well.
C.C. Russell lives in Wyoming with his wife and daughter. His writing has appeared in such places as Wyvern Lit, Rattle, Word Riot, The Cimarron Review, and The Colorado Review. He has also lived in New York and Ohio.
Forcible deportations of persons
from the territory of Power are a given
if security so demands.
Such evacuations involve
the displacement of persons
outside the bounds of material reason.
It is impossible
to avoid such displacement.
Persons evacuated shall be
transferred back to their hostilities.
To the greatest practicable extent,
satisfactory conditions of hygiene,
health, safety and nutrition
are separated and taken.
The Power shall protect
an area of security
imperative on its own population.
Source: Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), p. 185, Article 49: Deportations, Transfers, Evacuations.
Method: Erasure, keeping the existing word sequence intact. In the wake of the recent inauguration, with the new administration’s attempt to put in place a Muslim travel ban, I looked through the documents of the Geneva Convention to see what existing international law had to say about the treatment of refugees and the deportation of civilians. As I read through these texts I could sense words falling away, revealing a new intention.
Bio: Robbie Gamble is a poet and a nurse practitioner who has cared for homeless and undocumented people for many years in Boston, Massachusetts. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Writers Resist, The American Journal of Poetry, and Poet Lore.
Source: Preface to Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Method: My method for crafting my found poems involves setting rhythmic text from public-domain works in a visual pattern or in an established verse form.
Bill Yarrow, Professor of English at Joliet Junior College and an editor at the online journal Blue Fifth Review, is the author of The Vig of Love, Blasphemer, Pointed Sentences, and five chapbooks. His work also appears in Aeolian Harp, Volume One and Beginnings: How 14 Poets Got Their Start.
SHADOWS THE WORDS
How old is your ardor?
everything feels afterwards
And if echoes are shadows
The words in the storm
have no word for ocean, but if you live here
Eventually the birds become
record player. Electric & spinning.
Sources and Method: This cento, which is also an acrostic, consists of one line taken from each of the following poems (in order of appearance): Kathleen Ossip’s Your Ardor; Philip Schultz’s Afterwards; Sarah Eliza Johnson’s Combustion; Noelle Kocot’s On being an artist; Philip Levine’s Our Valley; Adam Clay’s Our Daily Becoming; and Julia Cohen’s In the dark we crush.
Mark A. McCutcheon teaches and researches postcolonial popular culture and copyright at Athabasca University. He has published poetry and fiction in literary journals like subTerrain, Existere, Carousel, and Kaleidotrope. His critical research on copyright has appeared in English Studies in Canada, Digital Studies, and Popular Music, among other scholarly journals and books.