Monday, October 31, 2011

Smithsonian poems

I missed my weekend entries the past couple of days because we had friends in town and I didn't stick to my one-a-day regimen. Now I'm having trouble tapping into the frame of mind I usually write haiku from.

That means it's time for a frankenhaiku -- one that takes randomly selected bits of text and stitches them together to see what happens. Sometimes I'll use lines from earlier, more intentional haiku; sometimes from another source. Tonight's poem is constructed from the November 2011 issue of Smithsonian magazine:

potato fields --
his abundant protests rang
growing love in suffered life

Pretty far from the conventional haiku spirit, so maybe frankenpoem is a more appropriate term than frankenhaiku this time.

If you're interested in the process: I used assorted dice to pick a page of the magazine to pull text from. Then rolled the dice again to pick which line of that page the text would come from.

Below are the 10 lines (from 10 different pages) I used to cobble together words and phrases that I liked the sense of. Even using the limited palette of words from these randomly selected lines, I haven't been able to resist editing it multiple times.

If you take the lines themselves in their entirety and read them as a 10-line poem, I like some of its moments, too (especially in the last 5 lines or so):

before the potato (and corn)
fields with up to 20 landraces the
on the orders of Pope Shenouda after his release. "At the
abundant, reasonably healthy food for
February) joined in protests against
Big Ching rang in the day with the People's Republic anthem
(left) and a metroplex growing to fit 23 million people
the Greek goddess of love
in the Netherlands, Belgium, Prussia
life. Yet they have long suffered

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