Today's prompt at readwritepoem was to write (or at least gather?) a "found poem". In the poetry circles I move in, this term is sometimes used rather loosely to refer to a poem that is collaged from fragments of various other texts. As I understand it, however, the strictly correct use of the term refers to a single piece of text, unarranged except for line breaks, culled from a piece of text that would not be normally considered poetry. The latter point is critical, of course, because otherwise it is simply plagiarism.
There have been a few highly successful pieces of found poetry taken from newspaper articles. On the whole, though, I believe it is the most difficult form of poetry. Easy on the surface, because all you have to do is arrange a piece of text. Difficult, because you can only use texts that aren't intended to be poetry, and it takes a very experienced eye to spot something that can be made into poetry just by arranging the line breaks.
To me, it has a lot in common with the type of art that says a urinal on display in an art gallery becomes art. The more loose sort, of course, has a lot in common with collage - making something new from a collection of different texts - and on the whole, I find it a lot more compelling and fun.
My effort for today is closer to the pure form in that I took only one text, and didn't rearrange the order of the words. I did, however, leave some out. It comes from an article on manta rays from The Press, Friday July 13, 2007, which was in turn reprinted from the Washington Post.
So you’re a pregnant manta ray,
about to give birth to a baby with
a two-metre wingspan. How on earth
will you manage that?
You gently flap your glorious wings
to swim to the bottom. You rub
your swollen belly on the ground
for a while. Then you gain a little
altitude and, with a forceful push,
eject your precious bundle
as a rolled-up burrito, which unfurls
to begin its new life.