Sunday, March 17, 2013

Passionate About What Is On The Map - Slice 18 of 31

I was reading Margaret's post 15 Lines Talking to Me Today at her blog Reflections on the Teche  .  I loved the idea that she took 15 lines and wove them into a poem.  Later a friend of mine sent me a link to Lost and Found Montana.  

The descriptive writing was so rich I wanted to share a sample.  I then mined it for some rich luscious lines of found poetry.  I hope you enjoy.

"When the official state highway map was created in 2001 ultimately nine communities remained, nine disappeared.
Their stories explore the issue of depopulation in the Great Plains, but they are not ghost tales. These are stories of towns clinging to existence like tumbleweed to a barbed wire fence. They're not just farming towns, they're railroad towns, mining towns, and mountain towns. Some have all but blown away in the western wind, while others balance at the vanishing point of the 21st century.
The destiny of each town provides a lens into the changing rural West and the fragility of place. As the MDT found out, when you propose to erase a town, it's about so much more than just words on a map." - quote from Lost and Found Montana

"I can stand there in Lombard and close my eyes and see it still.  Then I open them and nothing is there." - Rose Ellen Dempsey

Found Poem - Slipping From the Map
Inspired by - Lost and Found Montana

“Hey, we're still here.”
Outcry about town erasure.
People are passionate about what is on the map.
Explore the issue of depopulation 
Stories of towns clinging to existence 
Like tumbleweeds to a barbed wire fence.

The destiny of each town 
Provides a lens into the changing 
Rural West.  
The fragility of place.

Some have all but blown away 
In the western wind.
Others balance 
At the vanishing point,
Of the 21st century.
Nine disappeared.
Nine communities remain,
Slipping from the map.


  1. This is beautiful, Ruth, & sad too. 'Gone With The Wind' seems more than a book title, doesn't it? I like the lines you chose, especially that 'slipping from the map'! Here is a link you might enjoy & contribute to. You do so much about Montana! I notice they've started over. I wrote a couple of years ago & had students do it too, but now the map seems to have fewer pieces, so they must have re-started. It's the online Orion magazine:

  2. Linda thank you. I went and checked them out I will consider contributing to it.

  3. Deborah BussewitzMarch 18, 2013 at 4:41 AM

    Beautiful poem. Isn't it nice to create a new piece of writing by being inspired by other's work. Thank you very much for this post.

  4. That had such a sad ring to it. "Slowly, slipping from the map." But a wonderful way to create a new piece of writing...even from your own. Loved it!

  5. This is a fun technique I'd like to try - seems like a great scaffold for someone like me who wants to try poetry, but isn't sure how to start. Your poem created such images in my mind and a tone of bereft sadness.... really great, thanks.

  6. Christine HamblenMarch 18, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Terrific example--I have done "found" poetry before but not with just 15 lines. I wonder if this could be done on a similar topic or theme across texts or genres? You're making me think!!!

  7. Some great lines you captured here. So happy I inspired you to do this. Found poetry is fun. Kinda like putting together a puzzle. The pieces are all there, you just know it, but you have to move them around and manipulate them into a sharp, concise picture. Well done!

  8. It was fun. Thank you for the nudge.


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