Lens #1: Finding Poetry

How to write a found poem

A found poem uses language from non-poetic contexts and turns it into poetry. Think of a collage — visual artists take scraps of newspaper, cloth, feathers, bottle caps, and create magic. You can do the same with language and poems.  Writing this type of poetry is a kind of treasure hunt. Search for interesting scraps of language, then put them together in different ways and see what comes out. Putting seemingly unrelated things together can lead to surprising results (adapted from https://www.creative-writing-now.com).

You might end up rewriting the poem in the end and taking all the found language out, or you might keep the found scraps of language almost in their original form. Either way, found language is a great way to jolt your imagination.

There are no rules for found poetry, as long as you are careful to respect copyright.

Here are some potential sources of “treasure”:

  1. instructions, recipes
  2. horoscopes, fortune cookies
  3. bulletin boards
  4. Twitter or Instagram feeds
  5. science, math, or social science texts
  6. dictionaries or thesauruses
  7. graffiti
  8. headlines from newspapers, books, magazines
  9. posters and signage
  10. snippets of random conversations
  11. pieces of letters, text messages
  12. lists of all kinds
  13. spam emails (if cool for school of course!)
  14. subject lines from emails

Write a “found poem. Put it in your poetry scrapbook under Lens#1


Metaphorical Bucket of Poetry Stuff

Your task is for you out into the world of Mulgrave – our classroom, halls and spaces  and collect the following things in word form.

  1. 3 sensory images: sensory images are things you see, hear, touch, taste, smell
  2. 2 things you feel or react to
  3. 2 cool words or phrases you overhear or find
  4. 1 deep thought
  5. 2 words you don’t like or understand

One way to do this is to wander around and take pictures with your phone of the different text that you see and then when you bring it back recorded in your Scrapbook.

You will then find out what happens next as you will create yet another sort of found poem.



When you’re done the section, record your notes, your work or product (if there is one), your thoughts and more in your poetry scrapbook.  You could also take a picture of any notes or work made by the class on the board or anything else that you think is important to add to everything related to this lens. Perhaps you found some material online that you want to cut and paste into your scrapbook.

REMEMBER: Your scrapbook is getting assessed on Criterion C. We are looking for your depth of personal engagement with different perspectives, relevant details, and the creativity, imagination, even originality, that you show as you embrace the topics that we explore in this unit.

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