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“Found Poem” Step-by-Step Instructions        

1. Search through all the resources you’ve collected. Write down any words and phrases that you find particularly powerful, moving, or interesting. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, is fair game to use. 
     Don’t limit yourself at this point.

2. As you collect your words and phrases, double space between lines so that the lines are easy to work with. Feel free to add others that you notice as you go through your materials again.

3. Look back over your list and cut out everything that is dull, unnecessary, or otherwise wouldn’t be good to use in a poem. Try to cut your original list in half.

4. As you look over the shortened list, think about the tone (emotion) that the details convey. Is there a common theme between them? How could you link them together? Make sure you have words that
     communicate your emotions.

5. Make any minor changes necessary to create your poem. You can change punctuation and make little changes to the words to make them fit together.

6. When you’re close to an edited down version, if you absolutely need to add a word or two to make the poem flow more smoothly, to make sense, or to make a point, you may add a very few words of your own.

7. Read back over your edited draft one more time and make any deletions or minor changes.

8. Read aloud as you arrange and check the words! Test the possible line breaks by pausing slightly. If it sounds good, it’s probably right.

9. Reread your found poem and choose a title that reflects the emotional message of your poem.

10.  Copy the words and phrases into a rough draft.  Space or arrange the words so that they’re poem-like. Pay attention to line breaks, layout, and other elements that will emphasize important words or
         significant ideas in the poem

11.Arrange the words so that they make a rhythm you like. You can space words out

      so that they are all separate

     or allruntogether.

12. You can also put

       on lines by themselves.

13. You can shape the entire poem so that it’s wide or tall or shaped like an object..  You can also emphasize words by playing with boldface and italics, different sizes of letters, etc.

14.  Copy your final version of your found poem into your journal.   At the bottom of the poem, tell where the words in the poem came from.


This website was created and is maintained for use in classrooms dedicated to multicultural understanding. 
Material from and links to other sources have been chosen because of their relevance to this goal. 
For questions or comments, or to report problems with links, please contact:
Ann Ramsey