For the past five years, The New York Times blog has sponsored a “found poetry” contest for its student readers. The rules of order? Applicants can use only two articles from the paper as material, and must sew together non-sequential words and phrases to create a brand new bit of free-verse. Like pastiche or collage or the present wave of Internet Poetry, this art form is all about re-appropriation. It’s also a nice bonus that the project has a bunch of middle schoolers spending afternoons with the newspaper.
Eleven contest winners were selected this morning, but one entry especially stands out – that of a one Kayla C., who styled her piece after a recent New York Times Opinionator article called, “Parenting the Non-Girlie Girl.” Using the limited dictionary of this piece, Kayla wrote the following rallying-feminist-cry:
I want to be a pilot
Not a woman who will cry into her chardonnay
I’m the prince dancing with Cinderella
A mighty girl, a spunky girl
A girl who makes other people uncomfortable
Because I can
Because I want to
And do it all in a dress
Ultimately my identity is for me to decide
So fold up the attention and
save it for when I like pink again
Last month’s National Poetry Month proved a big one for preternaturally gifted kid writers, but here’s hoping Kayla C. carries on. Goodness knows we need less women crying into their Chardonnay.