“Found” Poetry

“Found” poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning. The resulting poem 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).

The following is a “treated” poem I’ve derived from lines in a sixth grade speller published by Rand McNally in 1930. The book was used by students in the Northumberland Boro Schools.

The house situated on the hill was destroyed;
(It was thoughtful of you to take a receipt for the kerosene);
The men worked industriously in the torrid heat.

The funeral was postponed until after Independence Day.
The preacher talked about heaven.
He acted stubborn, but he did a thorough job.

We sent the flowers purely out of friendship.
The woman was wearing mourning;
She gave a sigh of pity.

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