Get Inspired with Found Poetry

FoundPoemBy John Brush-

Does the word “poetry” put you in a panic? Fear no more. With found poetry, you’ll be able to create a beautiful poem in a stress-free environment. To create a found poem, the writer selects words from an existing piece of writing and then rearranges those words to create an original poem. Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: Locate Your Source
Your source is the original work or works that you use to find your words. From a novel to a cereal box, anything with words will work.

Step 2: Select Words or Phrases
Review your source and select words or short phrases that grab your attention. It’s best to write these “found” words on a blank sheet of paper or to type them into a new computer screen.

Step 3: Get to Know Your Words
Put your original source(s) to the side and read through your words carefully. Then start to move them around. Try to find which words work well together and place them into small groups. This will help you begin to organize the words into a poem.

Step 4: Develop a Concept
The concept is the glue that holds your poem together. Think about what your words mean and try to develop a main idea. Once the concept is created, you will likely want to reorder or remove some of your words to make sure the entire poem fits that concept.

Step 5: Finishing Touches
You may find that you need additional words to finish your poem. If you know what these words are, just write them. If you are stuck, pick up a source and start flipping through it until you find your answer.

And just like that, you’ve created a poem!

This found poem was created using words from a box of Honeycomb cereal.

Together
by John Brush

Without you,
there is no best.
I am far from whole.
And that idea is
far from original.
Far from fresh.
Far from what makes
an award-winning poet.
But, it’s close to my heart.
So, it finds its way to the page.
Along with the words
I’ve nestled beside
for no other reason
but to keep good company.

John Brush


John Brush is a writing professor at Long Island University and a recipient of the Philbrick Poetry Award. You can learn more about John HERE. Follow him on Twitter @johndbrush.

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