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The Observer Jan. 12 

The Observer has just learned of a new art form, thanks to connections with muckety-mucks in the literary world. It is called found poetry.

Here’s what happened. A neighbor, innocently enough, sent out an e-mail trying to find someone on whom she could dump her kid’s pet rat. It was straightforward, opening with the warning: “If you are not interested in owning a rat, delete this message now.”

Eureka! exclaimed a highbrow recipient who teaches college students about found poetry. She gave the e-mailed words new shape, and voila:



“If you are not interested

in owning a rat,

delete this message now”


AJ has a very nice

adult female

rat

and is looking to get rid of it. He
just isn’t that enamored with her

anymore. She is quite



nice and very very rarely

bites. She would come

with her cage and little house,

water bottles,
some bedding

and some rat food.


If you or someone you know is interested



please



let us know. …



For the undereducated among the e-mail recipients, this poet-finder carried on: “Notice the way the pathos builds in line 7, and the alliteration of “she would come/with her cage.” Also, note the open ending: will or will not the rat get a new home? This type of ambiguity is very important in contemporary poetry. As my students say, ‘I kind of wanted the readers to make up their own mind.’ They usually add that the poem under analysis reminds them of a movie, and they then describe the movie in great detail, but the only movie this reminds me of is ‘Willard.’ ”

And so now we can’t help but look at sentences with an eye toward the aesthetic. We are finding poetry everywhere.

“When he was still my coach, I knew

he would be on the staff

at Arkansas

somehow.

But



I decided to open it up anyway.

He’s capable of handling that job on his own.”

(Mitch Mustain)



And:



“We look forward to hearing your vision,

so we can more better do our job.

That’s

what I’m telling you.”

(George Bush, Gulfport, Miss., September 2005.)



A glass-walled room in the offices of Paschall and Associates affords a wide view of the Arkansas River and the birds that cruise it. It was a good setting in which to talk about climate change and how to persuade Washington, D.C., to tell industrial America to clean up its act.

A scientist from Montana and a realtor who hunts from a club north of Humnoke met with a string of media folks Monday to talk about how warming temperatures were playing hell with ducks. The talks were timed to coincide with the rollout of www.naturalstatecoalition.com.

Informed conservationists are taking a new tack to in the effort to pull the pro-business-at-any-cost Bush administration’s head out of the sand: They are appealing to people’s own experience and personal wants. Duck hunters who’ve awakened at dawn to 65-degree days and bugs and no ducks are beginning to get the picture. Next to be targeted: timber companies who can’t plant new pines this spring because it’s too dry and farmers worried about the increasingly precious commodity of water.

Several vees of cormorants flew upriver during the talk. The duck hunter scowled. He doesn’t think much of that species.

It made The Observer wonder. If we fight only for what’s best for us personally, do we create common ground wide and strong enough to embolden our representatives? Personally, they like those campaign contributions.




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