The Avant-Garde Tradition in Literature

By Richard Kostelanetz | Go to book overview

A Found Introduction
John Robert Colombo
Found poetry. What is it?
"Art must not look like art." Marcel Duchamp
"Obviously the basis of just about every great age in literature is the force and innocence of its plagiarism." Bertolt Brecht to Walter Kerr
'Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different." T. S. Eliot
"If A thinks himself a better poet than B, let him stop hinting it in the pages of an essay; let him re-write B's poems and publish his own improved version. . . . an absurd suggestion? Well, I am only proposing that modern artists should treat each other as Greek dramatists or Renaissance painters or Elizabethan poets did. If anyone thinks that the law of copyright has fostered better art than those barbarous times could produce, I will not try to convert him." R. G. Collingwood
It is the culmination of realism. So the found poem is really a piece of realistic literature, in which significance appears inherent in the object either as extravagant absurdity or as unexpected worth. It is like driftwood, or pop art, where natural objects and utilitarian objects are seen as the focus of generative form or meaning." Louis Dudek
"Found poetry turns the continuous verbal undertone of mass culture up
____________________
Reprinted from Open Poetry (Simon & Schuster, 1972) by permission of the author. Copyright © 1972 by John Robert Colombo.

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