I’m teaching a found poetry workshop: The Found Poetry Project, at next June’s Squam Art Workshops Retreat, which has got me thinking (ok obsessing) about ‘found’ poetry in all its guises; from the literal finding or overhearing of words to the more slippery forms of ‘found’ poetry: erasure or palimpsest, dialoguing with other works of literature, list poetry, postcard and photo prompt poems and this poem by poet and friend Amy Dryansky on her Pokey Mama blog. Click on the first link: ‘Zoe Deschanel & the Narrative Arc’ and scroll down to just after the dress made of poetry (speaking of ‘found’ poems) to find “Soul Accounting”. When I first read this poem in Dryansky’s amazing collection Grass Whistle, I thought “wow, it sounds so much like Emily Dickinson” so I was either off my game, not recognizing E.D’s lines, or operating at the subconscious, intuitive level, because, Yes! they are E.D’s lines, first lines to be exact. Dryansky compiled the entire poem of first lines from Dickinson poems. It’s a stunner. Read it. Now, back to that poetry dress; I’m intrigued by the idea of incorporating poetry into traditional forms of women’s handwork and craft. I’ve been working on a quilt kind of like this but bigger, incorporating diary entries from Esther Small’s diary, as well as photos of rural decay, transferred onto fabric. I’m trying to use vintage fabric in the piecing, or otherwise distressed fabrics, with bits of lace or florals in the mix to show the feminine hand, but the overall feel of the piece is dark, the stitching is a kind of suturing (actually a blanket stitch) as of wounds. There are also transferred images of Civil War soldiers from Esther’s husband’s regiment. I’ll let you know if I ever finish it. I’m also trying to figure out how to weave lines of poetry, also printed on fabric, in narrow strips into a lap loom weaving, so that the words peek out strategically. I’d like to accompany some of the poems from my upcoming collection with these pieces of traditional handwork for the launch and readings. We’ll see…. So, somewhere between jotting notes for my found poetry workshop, feeling envious of Dryansky’s writing abilities and trying to figure out how to sew poetry, I created these little mini magnetic poetry kits for my Etsy shop. They’re made in an Altoids-sized box, either painted or decoupaged. The first one above was decoupaged with a vintage map of Paris. The ‘found’ poetry on the top of the box is from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnets from the Portuguese” and the inside contains magnetic letters. Voi la, portable poetry! I’m working on one right now with images and text from a vintage copy of Beauty and the Beast. And yes, there will be an Emily Dickinson inspired one sooner or later. I just need to find an old copy of her collected-original- punctuation-messed-with poems to deface. If anyone out there has cool found poetry ideas or prompts, or something along the lines of the poetry dress- traditional handwork melded with poetry- I’d love to hear it.