Finding beauty in the new year through found poetry

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As we close the lid on the metaphorical dumpster fire that was 2016, many people are participating in the tradition of making New Year’ s resolutions. My resolutions- to find a single scrap of good left in the world, and to work on improving my poetry- sent me on a journey to search the world for sufficient inspiration. I began at a dramatic poetry reading hosted by Rock Canyon Poets in the attic of Pioneer book Dec 13. There I was introduced to ‘The Anthology of Really Important Modern Poetry’ , a book of found poetry compiled by Kathryn and Ross Petras.

Within this volume, the babblings of celebrities (from public interviews, blog posts, etc. without changing a single word) is transcribed into poetic verse; the authors give each poem a title and lay out each chapter by schools of thought. The meticulous organization in the book includes summaries of what each school of thought stands for and why each work is profound. Among the jewels hidden in this book are Snooki’s “How We Demeanor”, Charlie Sheen’s “There’s Faux Klingons in the White House”, and Robert Pattinson’s “A Philosophy of Follicular Fastidiousness (Or, My Hair is Greasy)”.

The beauty of these works is that they are so honest about the celebrity’ s perception of reality. Snooki knows that her demeanor is objectively gross, and she openly speaks about how unappealing it is. Through the satirical poem format, the reader laughs at the mask of fame while sympathizing with the human behind the celebrity.

‘The Anthology of Really Important Modern Poetry’ has inspired me to look deeper into the people who surround me for that scrap of good left in the world. What humanness lies behind the masks we put on during our day to day lives?

I decided to begin this new search by looking at a public speech given by UVU President Matthew Holland at a CareerPassport event in 2014. I have titled it “Musings on Finding a Career Path After Childhood and into College”:

“I’ m here for you kind of ‘I don’t have a clue what I wanna do’ people/ Or at least ‘mostly don’t/ know what I wanna’ do/ So, uh, I went into and, um,/ And here i am being a little bit facetious,/ I went to college,/ Sort of thinking I would go to law school,/ And, uh, but this was with the idea that, uh,/ Not that I necessarily had a burning desire/ To practice law,/ I probably did have a little bit of a Perry Mason complex as a kid./ I- high courtroom drama,/ I’ d put away the bad guys at the key moment and stuff like that./ Uh, but, as I got older,/ I thought, uh, well, you know, that may or may not be/ An accurate reflection of what it’ s like to practice law,/ And, so, uh, but I do/ But I’ m interested in law.”