Friday, September 10, 2010

Lesson 9, 7-19-10, Found Poem

Barnes & Noble Poetry Workshop
**Please remember, no workshop in August. Come back on September 16th 2010**
How to Write a "Found Poem"
If you have to write a poem for school, or if you write poems for fun but feel your creativity drying up, you might want to try a type of poem that is entirely made out of someone else's words. Just as a collage is art made of someone else's images, but cut up and arranged by the artist, so a "found poem" is a poem made of words and phrases found in another text.
Things You'll Need:
• Some kind of text: a letter, newspaper article, old book, magazine article, or even assembly instructions
• Your own creative view of ideas and language
1. Choose a piece of writing that isn't yours. You may be happiest with your results if you choose something that doesn't seem poetic at all. A very old letter, an obsolete set of instructions for technology that no longer exists, a page of advertising copy, a biographical essay, or a news account can all have interesting words and phrases.
2. Study the text. Look for words and phrases that catch your eye, or that seem to contradict each other if you take them out of context. Look for repeated words and see what the text is trying to emphasize.
3. Select words and phrases from the text, and begin to arrange them on your own page. Try to keep them in order, even if you are leaving out phrases or sentences in between.
4. Look for poetic interest in these words. Look for ways to cut and arrange them to point out contrasting ideas or contradictions. Look for images that they provide. Select phrases that unintentionally rhyme, if you choose.
5. The resulting arrangement of these words is your "found poem." Ideally, it should convey its own meaning to a reader, a meaning probably not intended by the original writer of the letter, instructions, or article. If you can make an arrangement that has a meaning about life, love, ageing, wisdom, or any of the other eternal themes of poetry, you've made a pretty fine "found poem."
Tips & Warnings
• Pay attention to line breaks and spacing, and see if you can use these to shift the meaning of the original words.
• Short lines will more often work than long ones, since you want to get away from the original writer's style.
Read more: How to Write a "Found Poem" |

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