I’ve long wanted to do a project based on the news. I’ve thought about working with a front page – whether the front page of a physical newspaper or what’s on the home page of newspaper’s website or newspaper equivalent like Google News.
On April 1st I decided to do that. Rather than work with the welter of information on a news site’s front page I chose to limit the resource. Going with a wish to notice deaths, to bring them out of the ordinary news feed, I went to Google News and typed “killed” into the search box. I copied the first story that came up into MS Word and edited it down, four words to a line, four lines to a stanza. When the story didn’t fit perfectly, I looked back at the source page to see what other (unrelated) story I could use to fill up the form – reintroducing some of the context of the original “ordinary” news feed.
After I posted the first poem I saw that I’d used five words in the line that mentioned the number of persons killed, so I thought that was an interesting addition and tried to retain that in future poems.
Is a compound word one word? “A five-year-old child” – three words or five? Usually I decided that would be five or edited to avoid compounds.
K says the form was invisible to him. He didn’t see that there were a particular number of words per line.