Trout seem to learn that danger
Is associated with artificial flies;
Perhaps it is the hook in them.
Though the subtitle is “found poems,” perhaps it’s more appropriate to call these “edit poems.” Annie Dillard read a variety of texts and found in them statements and phrasings that fascinated or amused her. The result, once assembled, is like collage or mosaic, a new picture is made out of broken off pieces. Dillard mines a junior high primer, an oceanography text, the New Testament Apocrypha, among other sources. My favorite poem, “The Hunter,” is one Dillard snipped from a book by a Russian naturalist. “Do you know how a hunter’s heart unfolds? / I walked over the snow – the crust held. … One lacks words to describe what the deep forest / Is like at night when you know that the great birds / Are asleep overhead.” I am enchanted by the seeking suggested, not just a hunt for prey, but a search for one’s place in the world. A sensibility is at play in this collection, nosing through a world of half-discarded knowledge and finding toys, some of which, it turns out, are surprisingly serious. Asks Vincent van Gogh in lines Dillard extracted from one of his letters, “Why should not the shining dots of the sky / Be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France?”
Check the BPL catalog for this title: Mornings Like This: Found Poems