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.
Confession: I generally dislike song lyric poetry. That is, found poetry written using song lyrics as source text. It’s not for some dislike of top 40 pop music (although); in fact, writing poetry from more poetic lyrics is probably harder to do well. Why? Well, lyrics are poetry…sort of. But while many song lyrics are crafty if not downright ingenious, they usually leave much to be desired without the accompanying music. This is why they are song lyrics and not poems. Somehow this “almost-poetry” status seems to lull poetry remixers into complacency. The original voice and context tempts us, and suddenly we find ourselves donning sunglasses at night and nonchalantly flashing the peace sign. (Of course, I jest).
That said, I believe we can create original poetry from nearly any source material. So let’s give song lyrics another go!
For this week’s prompt: 1. Select two or more songs from the current top 40 listings. 2. Consult the lyrics of each song (most can be found via simple web search). 3. Select words/phrases to create a new poem that:
- is distinguishable from your source material, differing in composition, tone, and subject matter,
- combines two or more song texts, and
- does not read like song lyrics.
Bonus points if you can manage to use cento form (description here) and still accomplish the above. Have fun…and please share in the comments!