“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.”—poets.org
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 Spare A Death at the Party The Movement Miracle It starts with Us 8 Rules of Love Women Talking Run Towards the Danger Worthy Opponents Paris 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 Greenwood When the Body Says No Pure Colour Ducks 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.
SPARE At the party women worthy opponents, rain love. The fox rules paradise, us.
Try it. It’s fun. What poem can you find in the list of titles?