Poetry month: Found poem

“Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems . . . A pure found poem consists exclusively of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few additions or omissions. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet.”


With the guidance of JC Sulzenko, I crafted a found poem. (Find it at the end of this post.)

Here is the process:

  • Find a source text. It could be a table of contents, or a series of titles, or a restaurant menu.
  • Either erase words you don’t want to include in your poem, or highlight words that attract you.
  • Create a poem with the chosen words.
  • The words should appear in the same order as the source material. (Perhaps with some allowances for changes in grammar or punctuation.)
  • Credit your source(s)!

Here is the source that JC provided for us. It is a list of best-selling book titles.

I Will Find You
A Death at the Party
The Movement Miracle
It starts with Us
8 Rules of Love
Women Talking
Run Towards the Danger
Worthy Opponents
Old Babes in the Wood
The Myth of Normal
The Book of Rain
Love, Pamela
Hello Beautiful
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse
Birnam Wood,
12 Rules of Life
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Murder at Haven’s Rock
Song of the Sparrow
Kunstlers in Paradise
When the Body Says No
Pure Colour
Someone Else’s Shoes
Young Forever
The Story of Us
Rez Rules
The Light We Carry
Eight Strings
Scattered Minds

And here is the poem I found there.


At the party
worthy opponents, rain love.
The fox rules paradise,

Try it. It’s fun. What poem can you find in the list of titles?

6 thoughts on “Poetry month: Found poem

  1. Ally Bean

    Cute idea. I’ve seen blackout poems made from pages in old books where you leave one word per line and blackout the rest of the words. It creates a more jumbled poem that yours. And takes more effort.

  2. Endless Weekend

    What a terrific idea! It sort of reminds me of the old show Iron Chef: you get a certain key ingredient (in this case, the structure, poetry) and whatever the kitchen is stocked with (the source) and then it’s up to you as to what you can “cook up”, what poetry you can be inspired to create.


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