Sunday, May 1, 2011

Watch out for Found Poems!

Just a few words on found poems.

Do not ever use source material that is under copyright unless you know the author and have a good relationship with that person.

Recently the Steiny Road Poet spent several months trying to find out who held the copyright to the letters of Paul Bowles as published in In Touch: The Letters of Paul Bowles. It turns out, the copyright was granted by Bowles to Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. It took a couple of months for the copyright contact at the publishing house to get around to reviewing the request and when the Poet got her letter of permission, it said, “We have no objection to your use of the material listed above in your unpublished manuscript, on condition that the material is printed without alteration…”

Are you laughing out loud? If not, maybe a definition of found poetry is needed.

Here’s how Wikipedia defines found poetry:

Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions. The resulting poem can be defined as either treated: changed in a profound and systematic manner; or untreated: virtually unchanged from the order, syntax and meaning of the original.”

So how does one remedy this situation because clearly the permission the Steiny Road Poet got was completely useless? She sits down and does a whole lot more research. Then she replaces the eight found poems with brand new poems. So far there are four!