Poetry Prompt: Meeting of the Minds


This post is part of a series of weekly found poetry prompts. If you have an idea for a found poetry source, email Senior Poetry Editor Beth Ayer.

The use of chemicals in warfare is nearly as old as mankind. For thousands of years, spears and arrows have had poison applied to them to enhance their effect. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey tell us that such poisoned arrows were used by the parties to the Trojan War. Chinese Sun Tzu mentions the use of fire with various weapons. In Hinduism, the Law of Manu favours a ban on poison and fire arrows, recommending the poisoning of food and water instead.

(“The Nobel Peace Prize 2013 – Presentation Speech”)

The 2013 Nobel Prizes were announced this week, including prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace, and economic science. Nobel lectures, interviews, and banquet speeches can provide intriguing poetry source material, maybe especially when combined. As source texts, the Nobel-related materials range from scientific and highly technical texts to first-person responses. And the work awarded includes, of course, a variety of disparate disciplines.

What do you get when you blend Alice Munro‘s Nobel interview text with Randy Schekman‘s Nobel Lecture (“Genes and proteins that organize the secretory pathway” ) slides? For this weeks’s prompt, choose two or more 2013 Nobel Prize-related texts and comb through your chosen material to create found poetry. Choose from the following selected texts, or refer directly to the Nobel Prize website for more. As always, please share your poems in the comments or submit to an upcoming issue.


Credits for material in this post:

Speech excerpt: “The Nobel Peace Prize 2013 – Presentation Speech”. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 12 Dec 2013. www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2013/presentation-speech.html

Top image by streunna3 on flickr