Mornings Like This by Annie Dillard
I was excited when I picked up this book a couple years ago, so I posted my purchase to my blog. My friend Rebecca said that she liked the book, but thought it was cheating to take something very poetic (like Van Gogh's letters) and make them into poetry. I didn't really think about that at the time, but after reading this book, I can understand exactly what she is talking about.
I really like the idea of found poetry. I also like when a found poem is an unaltered piece of writing that a poet took from another person and recognized the poetry in it that the original author didn't see.
I have a personal issue with a poet removing certain words from the original author's work because it is very distracting to me while I am reading it. I can't see the poet's hand in this type of poetry, and I spend the entire time I am reading wondering what the poet did and what the original author did. Did the original author write something completely un-poetic and the poet had to do a lot of word-removing, or did they break into lines something that was poetic to begin with? The ones I liked the best were from medical reports or manuals, because I knew those weren't very poetic, and Dillard made them that way. I guess it is just a hang up I have, which is too bad, because these poems were beautiful and I bet a lot of work was put into them. Maybe if I read the poems more times, I can see them as their own poetry.
This type of found poetry is such a vibrant form, I am going to try and train myself to just enjoy it and stop trying to analyze the whole thing.
My favorites in the book:
A Visit to the Mayo Clinic
The Graduate Student: Apects of the Tongue (I could only find the original source which is a medical book from 1828)
Building a Treehouse
Signals at Sea