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Free Your Mind: Found Poetry

Written by Laura FraineLaura Fraine

Sometimes you want to write but putting down those first words can feel impossible. If you’re stuck for ideas, why not try some found poetry instead?

Found poetry is when you take a piece of writing that already exists, and use some of the words and phrases from it to create an original piece of work. By deleting or adding words and re-arranging spacing and line breaks, you create a new piece of writing with a totally different meaning. It’s a bit like creating a collage out of language.

You can use any piece of writing for found poetry – a paragraph from a novel, an article from a magazine, or something totally un-literary like an advert, a horoscope or a shopping list. Cross out some words or pick out some interesting phrases. Create two new lines of poetry or flash fiction.

You could also try collecting bits of text throughout the week. Stick interesting phrases, works or slogans in a notebook, or on a Pinterest board. When you have lots, start rearranging, crossing out and cutting up. You’ll be surprised what you invent!

Enjoy subverting meanings, and using words in different contexts. Use graffiti to write a love poem. Merge the language used in an instruction booklet and in a self-help book. Just see what happens. And then send it to us!

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