Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Poetry Stretch - Found Poetry

This week's stretch takes the form of literary collage.
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.
(Excerpt from
To learn more you may want to play with the found poetry tools at Poetry Forge, read the Wikipedia entry, or check out this amazing found poetry blog.

I've mentioned in several entries lately that I have been cleaning my attic. This is all part of my yearly fall obsession with cleaning the house from top to bottom. In going through boxes packed during our move last year, I've had the opportunity to read over old letters, notes, journal entries and other memorabilia from my childhood. I was thrilled to come across an envelope full of letters from Japan, written in the most elegant handwriting by my high school pen pal from Kyoto. Holding the onion skin paper and reading her questions about life in America, her attempts to teach me Japanese words and hiragana/katakana, and her willingness to share details of her life made me see these gems as a form of poetry.

So, this week, I am going to use my box of letters and such to create some found poetry. Won't you join me? Leave a comment about your poem and I'll post the results later this week. Don't forget to let us know where your found poetry comes from, be it old catalogs, junk mail, street signs, or anything else that inspires you.


  1. I have two for you. The first was written back in August and is made up of lines of other people's poetry:

    The second I wrote today from words I see each time I drive my car:

  2. Thanks for the inspiration. I had a lot of fun with it, turning a bunch of Rudy Giuliani quotes into several found poems:

    The Poetry Of Rudy Giuliani

  3. I love this one! I am working on it.

  4. I knew immediately where to look for my "found poem".
    It is up at

    Click on the first link in the post and listen to one of my favorite voices. I do not share his skepticism, but I do share his environmental outlook.

  5. OK mine is up today! I collected search terms from my site meter and shaped them into a poem. Thanks for the challenge. I loved doing this one.