Finders Keepers: Who’s In Your Poem?

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


It’s not uncommon for a poet to reference, pay homage to, mention or imitate her influences in a poem. The next step is to use their words, to scramble them together, to remix them, to “translate” them into a new poem from a new time, a new place and a new author. That is what Jennifer Michael Hecht has done in her collection, Who Said.

In her book, Hecht is in conversation with a wide variety of poems, from Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” to the beginning of Dante’s “Inferno” and John Keats’ “Ode to Autumn.” In one poem, Hecht creates a mash-up of the Declaration of Independence and Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 (“When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes…”). In another, she responds to a Nirvana song.

You can read one of Hecht’s poems, as well as more details about her book, at PBS Newshour.

1 Comment

  • July 28, 2014

    Lewis Oakwood

    Unbidden

    Unbidden days of gatherings,
    memories of words borrowed;
    as to a child a secret.

    ~

    The above poem is a remix of ‘When You Come’ By Maya Angelou –

    When you come to me, unbidden,
    Beckoning me
    To long-ago rooms,
    Where memories lie.

    Offering me, as to a child, an attic,
    Gatherings of days too few.
    Baubles of stolen kisses.
    Trinkets of borrowed loves.
    Trunks of secret words,

    I CRY.

    ~