How To Write ‘Found’ Poetry


(image from an article by Richard Darell. Found on Pinterest)

I will admit, I had no idea what ‘found’ poetry was until I started my Creative Writing MA last year.

‘Found’ poetry is defined on Wikipedia as:

“Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literary equivalent of a collage[1]) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning. The resulting poem([1]) can be defined as either treated: changed in a profound and systematic manner; or untreated: virtually unchanged from the order, syntax and meaning of the original. “

I’d come across examples of this during my reading of contemporary poetry, but still was at a loss to understand how you could find a piece of writing that was not your own, and create a poem out of it.

That is until I found this comment card at the public library in which I now work:

“The reference section on the first floor of the library in                 is extremely unpleasant to work. The smell of unwashed people occupying the chairs and tables – to keep out of the cold – makes for an unpleasant library”

*I have purposely omitted the name of the library and not included the name of the person who left the comment. This is to maintain the privacy of all involved. 

I read this comment card,  and instantly knew there was a poem in it.

So many stories in a few lines.

The next step was to create line breaks,  adding, and taking out words in order to give the passage a more rhythmic quality.

Using a poetic form to structure a piece of writing can also be helpful.

Haiku is a form I always default to if I want to add definition to a poem.

Rather than using the form in it’s traditional way, I will make one stanza adhere to the basic Haiku rule of three lines, the first holding 5 syllables, the second 7 syllables and the third 5 syllables again.

Here is the result:



An Unpleasant Library – found


Unpleasant to use

the smell of unwashed people

occupying chairs


and tables to keep

out of the cold – as reason

for unpleasantness.



I like it! I may do more of this 🙂

Much love Txx


2 thoughts on “How To Write ‘Found’ Poetry

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