Laurie Kolp is an award-winning poet with more than three dozen publications worldwide, including the 2015 Poet’s Market, Blue Fifth Review, Referential, Pirene’s Fountain, Found Poetry Review, Deep Water Literary Journal, Verse Virtual, Amarillo Bay, contemporary haibun online (cho), Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times, Writer’s Digest and Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet. Laurie’s first full-length poetry collection, Upon the Blue Couch, published by Winter Goose Publishing in April 2014, is available on Amazon. Laurie has been interviewed by Robert Lee Brewer of Writer’s Digest Poetic Asides, and has a new interview appearing in the next issue of Southern Writer’s Magazine. She is often inspired by nature, and her photography has been featured in Poetic PinUp Revue and graced the cover of MiCrow8: Winter 2013. Laurie served as the vice-president of Texas Gulf Coast Writers for two years and begins her term as president in January 2015. Her most important accomplishment, though, is her three children.
How would you define or describe found poetry in your own words?
Found poetry is to the poet as clues are to the detective. It’s a jigsaw puzzle, searching for the missing piece; each word carefully selected and treasured. I love hunting for poetry and finding it in the most inconspicuous places… in fact the weirder the source the better. I’ve found poems in fortune cookie fortunes, horoscopes, crossword puzzle clues as well as articles and, of course, the usual places. I think it’s much more challenging and rewarding than some of the other poetry forms. The key is to create a piece completely different than the source. The discovery can be translunar.
Do you consider found poetry more of a process or a product?
Definitely a process. I usually start by writing down words that sound nice together, then add phrases I think might make a poem. Then I’ll write a draft and have to go back to search for more words. Erasure is much more challenging in that I like to create a visual effect– nothing fancy, just a little drawing or design I create– out of the words or theme. Sometimes when I’m uninspired or going through a dry spell, I write a found/erasure poem to spark my creativity. It always works.
In what ways do you consider found poetry similar or different to what others might call “traditional” poetry?
Of course it’s similar to traditional poetry because the end product is a poem. If it’s good, the found poem might include poetic devices such as rhyme, alliteration, consonance, metaphor, etc. I’ve written a pantoum and ghazal found poem. I’ve seen sonnets and sestina found poems, too.
I think it’s different in that it requires much more digging to find the right words to convey your message. To create a new poem out of context is not easy.
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?
I think these critics are just not completely aware of what found poetry encompasses, and how (if done correctly) it’s completely altered from the source material. I’m sure chefs don’t accuse their comrades of being unoriginal when they come up with new recipes from similar ingredients.
In my opinion, nothing created by an individual is unoriginal. No two people think alike, act alike or look alike 100% of the time (unless they’re conjoined twins, I guess); so how can any work of art be considered banal? Isn’t it a personal preference whether the piece is deemed trite? There we go with the subjectivity of poetry.
What are you working on right now, poetry or otherwise?
At my sons’ school, I’ve been coordinating a National PTA creative contest that’s held nationwide every year called Reflections. Eight students advanced to the next level this year. Categories include visual arts, photography, literature, dance, music composition and film. I’m always amazed by the talent of these middle school kids! Also, this is my daughter’s first year of drill team and I’ve been watching lots of football in order to see her perform. It’s been fun.
I’m working on chapbooks to enter into contests. You never know unless you try, and to win is one of my dreams. The TX State Poetry Society Summer Conference is in my hometown next year, so plans are in the making for that. I love what I do!