Found Poems, Take 2

One of my classes this quarter requires a creative element for our final, so I decided to do some found poetry. The book that I took the poems from is called So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ. It was hard to do this project because I really liked the book and what I wanted to do ripped the book apart, literally, to appropriate her words and pages to create a new thing.

This is what my final poems looked like:

Found Poem #1
Found Poem #2

I have to say, despite ripping apart a book with my bare hands and the pain it caused me as an English major, this was a really fun project, and I really like the poems that I found within the text. I used stamps, glue, colored pencils, a razor, and of course, my secret talent of crocheting (I made the pink elephant head) for the final project.

Just because I know they might be hard to read in the photos above, here’s the text for both poems:

Found Poem #1
Modou is dead. How am I to tell you?
Fate grasps whom it wants
But more often than not one has to endure
distorted faces, a train of tearful people, known
and unknown, witness to this awful tragedy of the living.

I can hear, I think, the
futile effort at mouth to mouth resuscitation
ridiculous weapons against
the words that create a new
atmosphere in which I move
Between two opposite worlds, one
tumultuous, the other still.

Cross-sections of my life spring involuntarily from my
memory, grandiose verses from the Koran, noble words of
consolation fight for my attention.


Found Poem #2
Aunty Nabou wielded her power over young Nabou’s soul,
She stigmatized trickery, laziness
And slowly but surely,
the virtues and greatness of a race took root
in this child.

She had no time
to worry about her state of mind
and badly serviced suburban areas, all day
babies passed again and again between her
expert hands

worried about the great rate of infant mortality
In the midst of life, in the midst of poverty, in the midst of
ugliness, young Nabou
remained powerless.

I really like found poetry—I think it’s a great release for creativity. In a quarter system, and with the amount of units I’m taking, I haven’t had a ton of time to be creative or write creatively, so this project really allowed me to go wild. I don’t think I’ll rip books apart for future found-poem projects, but it worked well for this one.


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