Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

A Month of Poems and Badges: Found Poetry Review’s PoMoSco (Poetry Month Scouts) Project

PoMoScoIt’s the first of April! For some people, that means it’s April Fool’s Day. For poets, that means it’s the start of National Poetry Month. Whoohoo! Some of you may remember that a couple years ago around this time I was participating in The Found Poetry Review‘s Pulitzer Remix, during which I wrote 30 found poems using only the words I could find within Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. This year I’ll be participating in FPR’s Poetry Month Scouts (PoMoSco), during which I, along with 212 other poets representing 12 countries and 43 US states, will be attempting different found poetry prompts to earn badges in five categories: Remixing, Erasure, Out and About, Conceptual, and Chance Operation. I have the goal of completing 30 during the month (and the requirement to complete at least 15). For each poem I complete within the guidelines of a prompt, I’ll earn the badge associated with that prompt.

When I did Pulitzer Remix, most of the poems were found using the method from the first PoMoSco prompt, Pix & Mix, for which I basically just flipped around the book writing down words and phrases that I liked and rearranged them into poems. Eventually, as a poem started to come together in my head, I would start looking for particular words (or at least words conveying an idea similar to what I was starting to work toward). I got comfortable with that method and will probably still use it as a go-to for found poetry, but with this project, I’ll also be venturing beyond that, using different sources and different methods of finding words from those sources. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

If you’d like to follow along with my progress, bookmark this link [link no longer available] where you’ll find the poems I’ve contributed. (I’ll also be sharing new posts on my Facebook page and Twitter). As of today, you’ll see my self-interview [link no longer available, but posted the interview below] and the poem from the first prompt: The Forgotten Part of the War, which was written using words found in Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage. Tomorrow you’ll see a Dadaist cut-up poem from The Hound of the Baskervilles, and on Friday an erasure from Girl, Interrupted. Beyond that, you’ll just have to wait and see!

Do you have any plans to challenge yourself as a writer or reader during National Poetry Month?


Self Interview

How did you first hear about PoMoSco?

I first heard about it in a Facebook announcement made by one of our fearless scoutmasters, Jenni.

What made you want to participate in the project?

I had participated in the Found Poetry Review’s Pulitzer Remix a couple years ago using Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies as a source text and had a lot of fun with it, so I was excited to join another FPR project. I had too much going on with school last year to commit to Oulipost, but since I’m now in the home stretch of my master’s program, I figured the timing was right to jump on another poetry project. I’m fond of the idea of PoMoSco in particular because I have always enjoyed working from prompts and, as a former Girl Scout, I though the idea of earning badges again was a fun twist.

What experience do you have with found and experimental poetry (if any)?

My first experience with found poetry was in a Craft of Poetry class as an undergraduate at Bowling Green State University, where I earned a BFA in creative writing. The professor introduced the concept of a found poem and gave us a prompt to write one. I also came to try out experimental poetry due to prompts in various classes. With the occasional exception of some short poems written entirely from words found within magnetic poetry sets, I didn’t try found poetry again until the opportunity to join Pulitzer Remix came up, which I believe happened because I once submitted the poem I had written for class to FPR and, though the poem had been rejected, my email was still on file. I was intrigued by the idea of the project, and a book I had enjoyed as an undergrad was an option as a source text, so I joined requesting to work with it, and that request was granted. I went from minimal experience writing found poetry to having written 30 poems inside 30 days, using only words found within Interpreter of Maladies. Most of those poems were written using the same method as the Pick & Mix prompt, which is the suggested kickoff for this project, so I’m excited about expanding my options for finding words to use.

What badge are you most looking forward to?

I’m eager to try a lot of the badges, but the one I’m most looking forward to is Quiet on Set because I was already thinking about doing found poetry with one of my favorite shows, so that prompt will give me a chance to write the first poem of that project.

What badge are you most dreading?

I wouldn’t say I’m particularly “dreading” any of the badges as they all seem interesting. There are a few for which I am not amped up about the initial suggestion, but I am amenable to the alternatives presented. The one I foresee possibly having the most difficulty with is Chance Walk since I live in Germany. Most of the signage off base will be in German, which I’m not fluent in, and most of the signage I’ve seen on base so far is not super-interesting. Most likely I will take walks both on and off base and see if I can find a way to combine the two sources and source languages.

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