What is a Found Poem?
The idea is simple. You extract a whole passage of text from a non-poetic source and arrange it, word for word or adding some of your own, into lines. The idea is to find poetry in words that were not originally and primarily intended to be poetic – the more ordinary the better.
Well writing poetry is all very well, but I’ve never got to grips with the different metres, rhymes and number of syllables necessary to fit this or that form of poetry.
Do you read poetry?
I rarely do, unless something like this found poem thing tickles my fancy or if a poem was written by someone, who is now deceased. When I do read contemporary poetry, it doesn’t seem to follow any of the better known forms that I struggled with during my Lit degree. Also, contemporary poetry is invariably so deep and inscrutable, I can’t make head or tail of it.
However, when is a poem a poem? When is a poem a flash fiction? Is it a simple question of line breaks? Meaningful questions, I think you will agree, and something to ponder over the weekend.
But to cut to the chase, the found poem ‘method’ seems to me a great way to generate flash fiction. So I gave it a try, flicked through my favourite magazine (in English) the UK edition of Country Living. What a surprise!
The Fire Maker.
At North Cottage on its windswept cliff, he became obsessed with fire. He chopped wood and made piles of logs, neatly stacked or thrown into the daily basket. Every day he crumpled sheets of newspaper, tore strips of cardboard. Every day he added an old candle and built a pyramid of kindling over it, in the centre of the stove. Every day he held a small flame to the careful stack and behold there was fire, his fire in the hearth. Every day he fed and stirred the fire with the wood that he had chopped and his fire kept the cold at bay and the scent of his fire filled the house.
What do you think? Would you write a found poem and share it with me?