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  • Writer's pictureNazifa Islam

Virginia Woolf Found Poem in Spillway

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

I'm excited to have a found poem in issue 26 of Spillway! This poem comes from Mrs. Dalloway instead of The Waves, which means it was a bit more difficult to write. Working with the "she" and "he" pronouns tends to be trickier than the "I" ones for whatever reason. But I really love this particular paragraph of the novel. I just think it rings true. That there is something about having cared very deeply for certain people that brings them back to you in certain unexpected moments without bitterness or judgment. At least after a certain amount of time has passed.

I knew early in the found poem project that I wanted to find the poem in this paragraph. I even ended up writing a second poem out of this paragraph, but it wasn't any good. This is the only one with any solid footing. You'll have to buy a copy of Spillway issue 26 to read "Never Eternally" but below is the paragraph I used. The individual words I ended up using are in red.

"For they might be parted for hundreds of years, she and Peter; she never wrote a letter and his were dry sticks; but suddenly it would come over her, If he were with me now what would he say?—some days, some sights bringing him back to her calmly, without the old bitterness; which perhaps was the reward of having cared for people; they came back in the middle of St. James's Park on a fine morning—indeed they did. But Peter—however beautiful the day might be, and the trees and the grass, and the little girl in pink—Peter never saw a thing of all that. He would put on his spectacles, if she told him to; he would look. It was the state of the world that interested him; Wagner, Pope's poetry, people's characters eternally, and the defects of her own soul. How he scolded her! How they argued! She would marry a Prime Minister and stand at the top of a staircase; the perfect hostess he called her (she had cried over it in her bedroom), she had the makings of the perfect hostess, he said."

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