Ed Bremson is an award-winning haiku poet, and founder of the book publisher Mijikai Press. He has been writing and publishing poetry for fifty years. His poems have appeared recently in the Longlist Anthology of the 2011 Montreal Prize, Wisconsin Review, Bamboo Hut, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Daily, Found Poetry Review, etc. Many of Ed’s poems have been translated and published in Mongolia, Croatia and Slovenia. He had a full-length poetry collection With Dreams of Summer Stars published this June in Taiwan; and he edited a collection of Mongolian haiku The Nature of Feeling which was published this June in Mongolia and America. Ed lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Ed’s poem “God’s Little Joke” appears in the special Lá Bloom edition of The Found Poetry Review.
Talk about your work that was published in FPR. How did you get the idea? What was the writing and revision process like for you?
I was working on a remix of Ulysses anyway, a series of haiku and tanka. “God’s Little Joke” was a series of five tanka that I was not going to otherwise use for my remix chapbook. So when Lá Bloom came along, it was a perfect opportunity to submit, and get it published. It consisted of five tanka from chapter 5 of Ulysses that were loosely related in theme, and so I took them, organized them in what I thought was a good sequence, and submitted the result, which was accepted and published.
Do you consider found poetry more of a process or a product? Explain.
I love the process, and I’m often delighted by the product. If I’m not delighted, I need to spend more time with the material until I am delighted with the outcome.
Critics often accuse found poetry of being “unoriginal.” How do you define originality? What importance do you place on originality in your own work and in other art you consume?
With one of these works, I create the poem. I might use words provided by Joseph Conrad, for example, but I go through basically the same process of creating a found poem as I do creating a poem from my own mind, my own words. For example, from Heart, my book of erasures from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness:
lives on love
Now, how is that not my poem? Sure, you could google the words, and you’d find them, particularly if you added “Conrad” in the search, but the words are scattered on the page. It took a poet to bring them together into a poem, which did not exist before. However, when it comes to using phrases from other writers, if it’s not a unique phrase, like “the noiseless, patient spider” I don’t really see a problem. The poet is still being creative in making a poem from these materials.
What other writers working in the found and experimental space do you admire?
Frank Montesonti was my adviser when I earned my MFA. He published a book of erasures, Hope Tree. Also, I took a class in erasure poetry with the Chicago School of Poetics. The class was taught by Kristina Marie Darling, a talented poet and awesome teacher.
What are you working on right now, poetry or otherwise?
Right now, I just finished erasing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, putting together a chapbook of tanka. I am erasing all the scary and disgusting from the book, leaving us with a collection of bright, cheerful poems. I published the chapbook in November with CreateSpace.