Poetry Prompt: Found Poem

Poetry Prompt: Found Poem

Did you know that you can “find” a poem in the pages of a book, or between the lines of yesterday’s newspaper, or even on a billboard? In today’s poetry prompt, you’ll be collecting words and using them to create your own poem!

A found poem is when you take someone else’s words and rearrange them to form your own meaning. Sometimes, facing a blank page can be intimidating. Found poetry gives you a place to start and ideas to get you going.

Here’s what you’ll need for today’s found poem:

  • A book, pencil, and paper (for the random-page method)

  • Old newspapers or magazines

  • Scissors, glue, and paper (for the cut-out method)

  • Permanent marker/pens/paint (for the blackout method)

The easiest way to create a found poem is the random-page method. In this method, you start with opening any book to a random page number—let’s say page 29—and collecting words you like from that page. Try collecting seven words or phrases you like. Then, use those words as a start, middle, or end for your poem. For an extra challenge, you can try to link the words or phrases you choose without adding any additional words.

Here’s an example of a found poem we wrote based on page 29 of Maria Edgeworth’s Helen.

Morning
      resolved,
      as the old French metaphysicians used to say,
a distinction:
      riding off on your imagination
      — she had no imagination now —
that was Cecilia’s secret.

You can also use the cut-out method or the blackout method of creating your own found poems using old newspapers and magazines. Find out how to do those in this post on found poetry from Poetry Teatime. Be sure to share your results with us here!

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