Found Poetry 2 Comments

Found Poetry

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of teaching a writing workshop at Kambrya College in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs. Doing these workshops is great, because I love telling kids that poetry isn’t just about Shakespeare and rhyme. That’s not to say that teachers don’t do a great job teaching poetry—because they do—it’s just that sometimes its nice to take a little break from the curriculum and get the creative juices flowing.

Towards the end of the workshop, I handed out some poetry from the latest issue of Voiceworks (which you can buy here). I then told the kids to cut up the poems and make their own. The aim of the exercise was to think laterally and experiment with words that wouldn’t normally go together. This is important, because good imagery should always surprise or startle the reader.

Here’s two poems from the students:

the great white dugong accepts my love,

the alarm clock

states its terms.

we wake clinging to our brains

tea all over the dog.


the ocean keeps treasure

and kelp in its shark  belly.

feet anchored

I trundle from day to night. 

there are ghosts in my house;

that safety vest won’t keep you.

like a drowning man

it tells you that the only empathy

is weight from the heart.

sleepless 12 ’till 7 am

falls regular as the moon.

the ocean knows, 

stealing sugar.

Here’s how to make your own found poems:

1. Find some poems! Photocopy them. Try to get poems written by different people.

2. Cut them up using scissors. You can cut out individual words, or entire phrases—it’s completely up to you.

3. Arrange the words / phrases onto a blank piece of paper. It can be helpful to work from a first line or stanza and trying to build up a poem from there.

4. When you’re happy with the arrangement of the poem, stick the words onto the page using glue.

5. You have yourself a found poem! Yay!

Broede Carmody is an EdCommer, student  journalist, vegetarian, and part-time octopus. He tweets via @BroedeCarmody.

  • Susie Anderson

    This is great! This is how I started writing more poetryesque things – cutting up cute things I saw in magazines and making them into zines and collaging and so on.

  • Zenobia Frost

    I both adore and am disturbed by the way Amber’s and my poems have come together: “the great white dugong accepts my love.”

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