I'm Searching for Something So Undefined:
Poetry Found in the Cloud
“Poetry isn’t so easy. Art isn’t so easy—that is, getting it right, ending up with something
that lifts one into another place, a place that one keeps forgetting about. Perhaps it’s the way
these poems were made that gives them a special grace. The words were not written by
the poet herself. Each poem here was put together via a process of selection from an
Internet search. Of course the choices are all made by the poet, but I wonder if there isn’t
something else here, the kind of magic that can come only from getting outside of oneself.
These pieces have that originality, that taste of freedom that’s always new.”
- Richard Whittaker, Works & Conversations Magazine (Spring 2013)
“Knowing the manner of composition encourages the reader (this one, anyway) to
continuously flicker between three modes of reading: first, considering each line
individually—wondering about its original author and context; then, collectively,
as some expression of the ephemeral, “Internet moment” from which all the lines derive;
and then finally as an entirely new poetic construction, with its own cadence and meaning.
In some ways, reading these poems feels a lot like using the Internet itself, as our surfing
yields hobbled-together brief constellations of meaning, cobbled together from vast patterns
of inchoate data.
“Most ‘data art’ takes the form of algorithmic arrangements of pixels on a screen – a medium
that is so new the tools to produce it are still being invented. Mitsch’s poems, by contrast,
manage to embed the Internet in one of our oldest artforms, yet with results that are
no less revelatory.”
- Andrew Zolli, author of Resilience
Scroll down for a few sample pages from the book.... Below is a more recent poem that was included in the Marin Poetry Society Anthology a couple of years ago:
If You Find Yourself Lost
selections from the results of an internet search for “if you are lost”
Now is the time to gather your thoughts and calm down.
Stop and listen to the sounds of the forest and smell the air.
Look for the North Star. Know that the sun rises in the east.
You cannot lose your way in a purposeful universe conspiring in your favor.
Sit, and breathe from your belly. Ask yourself some basic questions.
Did you come from the left? Didn’t you pass that rock twice?
If you whistle, might someone hear you?
Have you dreamt about what kind of person you want to be?
Peer behind you regularly. Take pictures, lots of them.
You might leave tiny reminders of your passing.
Your body has its own thermostat. You can make your own compass.
Maybe you’ve been valuing the opinions of others over your own inner knowing.
Be alert for any tingling or numbness in your limbs.
Make a list of how to fail—through sloth, envy, resentment, self-pity.
Failure has a way of sharpening the saw of a person’s character.
You don’t die from not knowing where you are.