How to write a found poem
A found poem uses language from non-poetic contexts and turns it into poetry. Think of a collage — visual artists take scraps of newspaper, cloth, feathers, bottle caps, and create magic. You can do the same with language and poems.
Writing this type of poetry is a kind of treasure hunt. Search for interesting scraps of language, then put them together in different ways and see what comes out. Putting seemingly unrelated things together can create a kind of chemical spark, leading to surprising results.
There are no rules for found poetry, as long as you are careful to respect copyright.
Find a newspaper article that you feel connected to (it can be any newspaper you choose). Select word, lines, or sentences that resonate with you and create a found poem.
- Each poem must be 14 or fewer lines long.
- You may give it your own original title if you like.
- The poem itself should use no more than two of your own words. The rest of the words and phrases should come from some article or articles published in the newspaper article.
- You might choose to write in a traditional poetic form, or not.
- Remember that in a poem, every word, line break and mark of punctuation carries meaning, so have fun experimenting with repetition of words, alliteration, assonance or anything else that enhances what you’d like to say. (Note: Our commenting system doesn’t recognize fancy spacing, so using words to create interesting shapes is unfortunately not an option.)
Add a link to the original article. Link them to this post.
Here is a sample:
A Boy Gone
A family’s heart ache
Father and son
Man to Man
Man to boy
A boy, a black boy
Shot, the triggerman, free
Screaming, a gunshot, and silence
Self defense or racial profiling?
A wrenching tragedy
Questions to be asked
Justice for Trayvon
The boy, gone
— Hayley,17, Triangle VA
Look what other students have done: Found Poem Student Challenge