Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Prose to Poem

I've been reading a lot of primary source documents for my class and am thinking about transforming a prose document into poetry. Let's consider this a form of a found poem. Take a letter, a speech, a passage from a favorite book, any portion of prose with some meaning, and use words from it to write a poem. (Note that if you use excerpts from poems by other authors that you will be writing a cento. You can read more about the cento at

Here's a poem I wrote based on the words from the chapter Winter Animals in Walden: Or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau.

Hills rose up around me
and in misty weather
loomed like fabulous creatures.

I walked freely
far from the village street,
where I heard the forlorn note 
of a hooting owl.

At length the jays arrived,
then the chickadees in flocks,
hammering away with their bills.

And once a sparrow
alighted upon my shoulder.
For a moment,
I was more distinguished
by that circumstance
than any epaulet
I could have worn.

I hope you'll join me this week in turning prose into poetry. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. At random, I found and restructured the following:

    Dear Mr. Warhol

    Your guests
    have left
    (we have
    been advised)
    a congregation
    of debris
    and litter
    in public
    areas after
    hours. You
    never bothered
    to clean
    your fourth
    floor space.
    People such
    as you
    (contrary to
    rules and
    regulations) might
    present a
    serious problem.
    Your lease,
    of course,
    does not
    permit such
    use and
    occupancy. You
    are hereby
    directed not
    to have
    any such
    parties in
    this building.

    Here's a link to the source:


    Each sip you can feel 24 nutrients
    Bursting with sunshine-y citrus
    Flow through your body in wave of
    It’s no wonder we call it “Super.”
    Support your immune system,
    No coffee, no crash,
    Emergen –C!

    -- Found on an Emergen-C supplement box --

    (c) Charles Waters 2013 all rights reserved.

  3. I've been in St. Louis all week doing social studies stuff. Nice work, gentlemen!