Found Poems can be a great way to engage students in writing poems in a no-risk fashion. A found poem is a poem that you construct using words from a text that already exists–perhaps even a text of your own. The process takes a few steps, but the end result is worth it. The essence of poetry can be found in its simplicity. The creation of a found poem captures this essence.
To create a found poem:
Find a piece of text that interests you. What text? Sky’s the limit! A book you love, a great story you wrote, a memoir you wrote or read, a menu, a headline, the classified ads…you get the idea.
Choose words from the text and isolate them–cut them out or write them down–onto a blank sheet of paper–maybe 50-100 words. No rule here–as many or as few as you like.
Arrange the words into a new poem that sounds wonderful to your reading ear.
Design it if you wish!
Give it as a gift!
I have used this strategy with 6th graders, preservice teachers, and practicing teachers in my graduate courses. If any of you are following this blog, you will remember how much fun we had with this activity, and some of you have even let me know that you have engaged your own students in “finding poems” through close reading and wonderful imagination.
Here are some examples from former students! You may not be able to read all of the words, but you can gather the intensity and joy of the process!
…and a couple of my own..