Friday, 1 October 2010

More found words

A parallel initiative in Liverpool is the Poetry Found project: they produce very small booklets of poems, and mark reported sightings on a Google Map.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

About the poets and poems

To download all the poems, follow this link.

Onitsura (1660-1738)

With Matsuo Bashō, Onitsura was  the inventor of the haiku form: more examples here

Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

Mainly known as a novelist (author or Erewhon and The Way of All Flesh), but also an essayist, translator and philosopher.

Kijo Murakami (1865-1938)

Master of the reformed haiku (with fewer rules); his deafness prevented him folliwng a military career.

Adelaide Crapsey (1876-1914)

American teacher and poet, who died of TB.  Responsible for inventing the Cinquain form.

Martin Locock (1962-)

British author, poet, publisher and project manager.

Latvian folk song

The daina or folk songs are a critical part of Lavian culture, recording its complex mythology with roots in pre-Christian times.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Found words or found poetry?

This project was initially going to be called the Foudn Poetry project, but that name had been used already, for found poetry (a method of creating a poem by taking text devised for other purposes (such as prose writing, advertisements, road signs or shop names) and presenting the result as if it were a poem).

It is a common occurence
For the ancillary services
To be provided by the auditors

As they are the ones
With the relevant technical knowledge
To prepare the financial statements

What should I do if I found a poem?

If you have ended up here, it must be because you were intrigued or inspired.  It's up to you whether you keep the card, or leave it somewhere for others to find. 

If you have been reminded that there is a poetry-shape hole in your life, explore some of the links at the bottom of the page, or, better, go to a library and read some poetry books. 

Many people, it seems, are innoculated against poetry by their education - we are left feeling that poetry is hard, demanding a response we may be unable to give. Poems asks nothing but your attention.  Some will speak to you, some will not.  We are not obliged to like, or understand, every poem. 

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Choosing the poems

The idea is simple: why not leave poetry printed on business cards in cafes and other public places where thye may be found and enjoyed by people who would normally not encounter it?   It is no coincidence that I had spent a long sumemer afternoon on a London underground train and found myself considering the text of one of the Poems on the Underground a few days beforehand.  But my aim was different: to make the case for brief, unpretentious, poems which were rooted on authentic human experience, and were six lines long or shorter.

It was a surprise to find that the restriction on length (imposed by the need to fit on the card) eliminated at a stroke some 99% of poems ever wrtten: even poets with a reputation for brevity would be excluded en masse.  Then the poems must be out of copyright, which means, these days, that the poet must have died at least 70 years before (that is, by 1940).  In practice this means that almost all the poems are of the short forms of haiku and cinquain.

From within this limited pool, the poems were selected to reflect wisdom, insight, and the elegant statement of feeling, rather than romantic exaggeration, vagueness and complexity that many poets feel they should adopt even when telling the truth.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

About the Found Words project

Advertisers have come up with the concept of guerilla marketing- bypassing conventional communication channels (to which consumers have developed cynicism and resistance) and inserting their messages elsewhere.  Why should they have it all their own way.  One of the tragedies of education is that it so often leaves people with the impression that poetry is arcane, unrealistic and self-indulgent.  The Found Words project is an attempt to correct this impression by introducing short poems into everyday contexts.  The cards include this web address - if you are here having found one, please leave a comment!