Trish Hopkinson has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. She has been published in several anthologies and journals, including The Found Poetry Review, Chagrin River Review and Reconnaissance Magazine. She is a project manager by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow her poetry adventures at http://trishhopkinson.com/ or on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/trishhopkinsonpoet.
Her poem “Broken Hearts Buried Here” appears in the Lá Bloom special issue of The Found Poetry Review
How would you define found poetry in your own words?
Found poetry is a palimpsest, a more direct approach to re-writing—everything we write is heavily influenced by all that has previously been written. Words upon words upon words have created what we currently consider the literary canon. Found poetry is just one layer, a thin decorated vellum, providing a new view into the original work.
Tell us about your poem that was published in FPR.
I wrote a poem for the Lá Bloom special issue, so it was based on a chapter from James Joyce’s Ulysses. The process was similar for me as other found poems I have written. Essentially, I start by carefully reading the original work, marking any phrases, words, or passages I may want to use, and then determining which form of found poetry will best suit the piece. Revision usually comes by way of finalizing line breaks, removing excess words and rearrangement depending on what form I’ve selected.
In what ways do you consider found poetry similar to what others might call “traditional” poetry? In what ways is it notably different?
Found poetry is similar to other poetry forms in that it reminds us of what we are and have been, what we’ve accomplished and destroyed, and all that is lost and remaining. Found poetry can isolate desire and longing, celebrate connections, and provide inspiration for new creations. Poetic language describes the unavoidable paradox of our existence, scatters boundaries, and fills in the grayness—the space between black and white. It speaks to all of us and for those who choose to write, provides the opportunity to renovate—express, resolve or unearth uncertainties. For me, poetry is necessity—the poems I read are the closest I can come to the lives of others and the poems I write, whether found or original, are byproducts of living.
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 don’t believe any writing is original. Words are everywhere—everything we read, hear and learn influences how we express ourselves. Bob Dylan is an excellent example. His poetry and song lyrics are typically considered original works, but are chock full of references, phrases and ideas based on songs and writings he admires. The same critics who have trouble with found poetry likely believe Dylan to be a plagiarist, but he certainly has had no lack of success.
What are you working on right now, poetry or otherwise?
Lately, I’ve been consistently spending more time on submissions than on actual writing, but I tend to alternate between found poetry, erasures and original poems when I am writing. I’ve also been steadily working on posting and promoting my poetry web site http://trishhopkinson.com/ where I share interesting writing tips, articles, calls for submissions (with no fees, of course) and other info to help promote writing and poetry in general.