By Marissa Dauber
I chose to focus on the Brock Turner case for my found poem. If you don’t know of this case, a college student sexually assaulted an unconscious drunk woman behind a dumpster. This case makes me extremely angry and emotional, because he was only in jail for 3 months. I chose to use a news article where the victim’s statement was used. I whited out a lot of the words, leaving the most shocking and devastating details of that night. The words are scattered randomly, in no particular order, in a way that doesn’t make much sense. This is because the night was confusing to the victim, and I wanted my reader to feel as confused and disoriented as she did. My goal was to shock my reader; it is supposed to be difficult to read, because of how terrible of a night it was. Her words are also, unfortunately, a reality for many sexual assault survivors. I cut out every time the article said Brock Turner’s name and glued it to the very top of the paper. These words are bigger than hers, as symbolism that he overpowered her, both that night and in his ridiculous jail sentence. However, I also wanted his name to be big and bold and at the top of the page, so the reader knows the name of the horrible man who committed the crime they’re about to read about. I think it’s very important we remember his name. I put “3 months” at the very end of the paper, for the reader to read after they just learned every gruesome detail of that night. This is also for shock, and to stress how crazy his sentence was. Lastly, in the middle of the page, I included a quote from the victim. I wanted to include this and make the font large, because this quote resembles her strength and power throughout this whole situation.
This assignment definitely made me think differently about how powerful language can be. I like the act of making a found poem, because it can be very therapeutic. You can re-make something into whatever you want, and make it have the effect on the reader that you want. This got me thinking about how Philip must have felt while writing Zong!. It probably made her feel angry and passionate, but also at peace that she was able to re-tell a story how she wanted to. It also made me realize that words don’t need to be organized in a “traditional” way to be powerful and have an effect on the reader.