Found Poetry

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Today, I thought I would share one of my favourite writing techniques with you.

It's a bit silly and occasionally the results are very bizarre but, what's best about this particular method of creating poetry is that it totally frees you up creatively. You can put words together however you like and not have to worry about them making any sort of logical sense.

Perfect if you feel (as I did, today) like nothing is making any sense in your brain anyway!

The technique is called 'Found Poetry' & you may have heard of it before, as there are many many different ways of creating it. For example, some people like to block out random spaces in newspapers (with a chunky marker pen) and write using only the remaining letters... some like to cut words and sentences out from magazines and then rearrange them, like a collage, into poems...and some people even enjoy scribbling their way through old books (sacrilege!) and using the un-scribbled parts of each page to make up great long lines of poetry. Whatever works for you, I guess!

My 'Found Poetry' technique is, once again, slightly different. What I like to do is take an old newspaper/magazine/brochure (the crappier the better, I find) and, scan-reading my way through the whichever article I've chosen, circle any words that jump out at me. A key tip here is not to choose the words for any particular, conscious reason- because it goes well with another word already circled, for example- but rather pick out words that simply strike a chord with you, or make you feel a certain emotion.

As a rule of thumb, if it makes you feel weird (scrumping, for example, is a word that made me feel weird when I circled it today) then it's probably a good word to pick!

Then, once I've got all my circled words, I rearrange them into some kind of order. There are no real rules for this bit- just write whatever feels natural and try to get some sort of flow going. If you need to whack in an 'It' or 'I' or 'but' to glue your words together, then you can! The whole point is that it's up to you :)

I highly recommend this activity if you're feeling depressed, anxious or unwell. When those spiralling thoughts take over, it can be a lot of fun to gain a sense of control over words and basically make them your bitch (for want of a better phrase!) for a while. It's also a great technique to use if you, like me, are not feeling up to usual writerly self- it's a fun and silly way of easing yourself back into the writing game again without the added pressure of that cynical, inner critic :D

Anyway, here are the three poems I came up with in my short session today, if you'd like to take a peek...

a swarm
a howling

I'm scared
into the wavy grass by

standing serenely
on a trap door
the customary bed hair

my memories are
(in parts)
and grainy-

a line of picket fence
shrugging against itself


pillow calls
make us feel

We absorb
the rise
of light
just as the
body clock

no muscle
a harder performance
the heart.


and patches
of passion
have changed
the spiky,
bug inside me

the mist is scrumping its way
over the seasons and

its like

being weighed down on the sofa
by the dog
and not the cat

My circled words- yes, 'customary bed hair' was in there!

I really hope you give this activity a go! It's so much fun and always makes me feel so much more accomplished, even if I don't manage to get out of bed to do it :)

Let me know in the comments below if you have any other quick and easy writing techniques, I'd love to try some new ones!

In the meantime,
All the love,
Sian x

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