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Found Poetry

Annie Dillard published this dainty little collection of “found poetry” in 1995 called Mornings Like This.  She calls them “poems built from broken text,” something we’re coming across more and more in our (sweltering hot) Texas town.

See?  Definitely a scrap of found poetry.

Here’s one of my favorites from Mornings Like This; it’s called “Getting Started.”

— David W. McKay and Bruce G. Smith,
Space Science Projects for Young Scientists, 1986

Try dropping from different heights.
What do you observe? WHICH WAY IS DOWN?
Be careful selecting a place to perform this project.

Wear gloves and a plastic apron. Repeat the trial.
Wear earplugs. WEAR A FACE SHIELD AT ALL TIMES.
BE CAREFUL, THESE EXPERIMENTS ARE ADVANCED.

Try dropping from different heights. Imagine
How limited your knowledge of the world would be
If this were the only way you could gather information.

For example, what is on the other side
Of those trees? Try dropping from different heights.
If gravity were absent, what do you think would happen?

Now, drop the leaking can. Now,
Puncture the beach ball. Cut the garden hose.
Start the stopwatch. Grind up some cotton balls.

Try dropping from different heights. KEEP
YOUR FIRE EXTINGUISHER HANDY! Look closely.
Know where you can get help fast. Now try it.

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