Found Poetry of Olaudah

What is a found poem? Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by manipulating the original text.  We are using the text of Ann Cameron’s adapted version of Olaudah’s autobiography, The Kidnapped Prince, to create poetry about Olaudah’s old country, journey, arrival, and new country.  This was we can capture both the facts and emotions of his experiences as a forced immigrant.  Here is an example from the prologue.

First we do a WORD HARVEST, where we mark up a copy of the page with the words and phrases that are most striking. Then from those words we can experiment with all sorts of poetic devices: patterns, refrains, repetition etc. While we do not have to preserve the original meaning, we want to communicate what Olaudah actually saw, did, felt, and experienced with this assignment.

The World Should Know My Story

composed by Lesley Younge from the words of Olaudah Equiano

To publish the story of one’s life is dangerous. But

I am not vain

I am not ordinary

I do not think of fame

I am not obvious

What makes any event important? Every experience provides

an impresson

an influence

I use it to become better and wiser as I examine my life

for my friends

for the interests of humanity

If I were European, I would have suffered a lot

But I am an African (considered worth less)

But I am an African (suffered little compared)

But I am an African (a favorite of heaven)

The world should know my story

Or the experience of all the ages is

worthless.

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