Bern Porter’s Found Poems
Bern Porter was a true master of the found poem. Found poems–particularly ones of the mainstream variety–can seem like formalist exercises; for example, Howard Nemerov’s “Found Poem” reorganizes language from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch into eight neatly arranged couplets. Nemorov’s piece seems to be informed by a decorous formalism. By contrast, Porter’s approach was more visual and surprising and he focused less on poetically framing easily digestible information than on creating strange and powerful hieroglyphs from the detritus of print culture. To read more about the Marcel Duchamp of the poetry world, see my new review of Porter’s Found Poems (Nightboat Books, 2011) in Hyperallergic Weekend.