Finders Keepers: Roots


By News & Resources Editor Martin Elwell. Send me your found poetry news.

A Found Poetry Oratorio

OratorHere’s an article about using found poetry as a means of tackling heavy, emotional content. The Guardian explore the collaboration between Andrew Motion and Sally Beamish on the “oratorio” Equal Voices.

They are, in other words, varieties of “found” poem – a form I chose with a view to getting round the problem that besets all right-thinking non-combatant war poets, the problem that, for all their well-intentioned sympathy, their response will look gratuitous, or like a vulgar parade of sensitivity. I thought that by including the voices of men and women who had been “really there”, and confining my role to editing, selecting, arranging, tweaking – and, yes, sometimes adding (AKA “writing”) – I might be able to demonstrate an appropriate kind of negative capability.

Makin’ Manuscripts

Working on a book-length poetry collection or chapbook? Need some strategies for organizing your manuscript? Nancy Chen Long did the research for you. Check it out on her blog here.

There are lots of resources out there related to putting together a poetry manuscript, from articles on how to organize a manuscript, to classes and workshops that include manuscript review, to working one-on-one with a mentor. I thought it would be a good to idea to gather some of those resources together for those who are interested in such things. Below, you’ll find a list of articles that discuss how to organize a poetry manuscript. Next week, I’ll provide a list of resources related to manuscript consultations.

Copyright, Copyleft and the Creative Anti-Commons

CopyrightAnna Nimus tackles the “genealogy of author’s property rights.” You don’t have to know where you’re going, but it helps to know where you’ve been…or something like that.

The author has not always existed. The image of the author as a wellspring of originality, a genius guided by some secret compulsion to create works of art out of a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, is an 18th century invention. This image continues to influence how people speak about the “great artists” of history, and it also trickles down to the more modest claims of the intellectual property regime that authors have original ideas that express their unique personality, and therefore have a natural right to own their works – or to sell their rights, if they should choose. Although these ideas appear self-evident today, they were an anomaly during their own time. The different pre-Enlightenment traditions did not consider ideas to be original inventions that could be owned because knowledge was held in common. Art and philosophy were products of the accumulated wisdom of the past. There were no authors – in the sense of original creators and final authorities – but only masters of various crafts (sculpture, painting, poetry, philosophy) whose task was to appropriate existing knowledge, re-organize it, make it specific to their age, and transmit it further. Artists and sages were messengers, and their ability to make knowledge manifest was considered a gift from the gods. Art was governed by a gift economy: aristocratic patronage was a gift in return for the symbolic gift of the work. Even the neoclassical worldview that immediately preceded Romanticism viewed art as imitation of nature and the artist as a craftsman who transmitted ideas that belonged to a common culture.

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