Tony Lopez's book of sonnets, "False Memory" is one of my favourite examples of poetry constructed from found language, in this case from the realms of commerce, business and technology. There's no narrative, and no cohesive sense to the poems, and yet they're a pleasurable read, deriving their strength, and - dare I say it, beauty - from the juxtaposition of seemingly unconnected phrases. I wondered how Lopez could come up with something as readable as this, when it would be easy to create a rather dull 'word salad'. So it was interesting to read, in 'Meaning Performance' an account of his working method:
"Performativity judged by reading the work aloud for me is the most important structuring device in composition. A collage of existing materials gets copied and re-copied , and reading aloud is the check for emotional, grammatical and rhythmical continuity."
So the process of creating a constructed text like this isn't that different to the way one might create more conventional work; by attention to the spoken word, to rhythms and cadences, where word and phrase can be re-worked and re-used. This latter is something most practising poets would recognise, even when their end-product appears to be the result of inspiration or impulse. And Lopez describes something else most poets would recognise, though I'd guess most, like me, are still trying to work out how to consistently achieve it; speaking of how he connects performance and writing, he says:
"The most significant aspect is the surrender of complete control in making something new."
So it may be that the process whereby good poetry is created is essentially the same, whether that poetry be modernist collage or conventional lyric; it's just that exponents of the former are likely to be more open about the procedures they use.