I’ve been looking for found poems. I haven’t found any, which is weird, because I’ve been to so many gigs where people have had found poems. They must be lying around all over the place, these found poems, waiting to be found. Perhaps they’re not found poems if you purposefully go looking for them.
I had this big plan of finding a found poem and I figured a good place to look would be the index of a biography under the subject heading of the person the book was about. I thought about who I might choose, because there are so many famous names who are also a bit of a rake and whose biography would have the index and bibliography necessary to provide a found poem. I chose Bill Clinton. The index was dull, because the book itself was a scholarly affair. A book which concentrates on the more sordid details of a celebrity’s life does not, alas, usually bother with such things as indexes and bibliographies.
I went to the bus station and looked at the bus timetables but they were similarly unforthcoming. There’s nothing noteworthy or humorous about a bus timetable, although here in Devon, they might seem more as fiction than found poetry.
I work with second hand books and often people have used old shopping lists as book marks, but these hardly ever have any content worthy of performance repetition.
I looked at Daily Mail headlines, but it turned my hair white with shock.
It seems that the found poems I’m looking for are remaining hidden. I also think that there’s an element of composition in every found poem. There’s editing going on, manipulating of the facts. I’m sitting in a trendy coffee shop as I write this and I’m looking at the menu board, but there’s nothing on it that’s remotely funny. There’s nothing inventive or fun about a flat white.
I think the best thing to do with found poems is not to look for them. Unless, of course, I did a list of found poem subject matter, and then made that into a found poem. Yes, that might be one way out of it.
Or I could just stop looking and get on with my life.