The Found Poem

Exercise from The Creative Process by Carol Burke and Molly Best Tinsley. (This was the textbook I used in my creative writing class at Cathedral City High School). copyright 1993

The Found Poem

“Look through ads, travel brochures, textbooks, the daily paper, and tabloids for a short passage (a few sentences) that might be interpreted in more than one way or that has a few interesting words you might play with. Experiment with line breaks, noticing that as you break a piece of prose into lines you create emphasis, with the greatest emphasis resting automatically on the word at the end of a line.

Notice the obvious linguistic playfulness in this student’s found poem based on a professor’s introductory comments fro an engineering course syllabus:

To the Stud

ent: You are a

bout to ex (a)

mine material

that will cap


and en

gross you.

Take time

to gr

asp the id

eas and con


Make a D

et er

mine D


After all the class

revolves around

just three






and proper


Brett Howe”

Let’s try one and share!


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