Tag Archives: creative writing

Found Poetry: Alphabet Soup

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I found a great article on found poetry at Creative Writing Now, which I used as the basis for this post.

(Photos by Strawberryblue)

For the variety of found poetry composed of random words and phrases mixed up and pulled out of a container, which I call “Alphabet Soup”, start collecting and cutting out words and phrases that appeal to you. Aim for a wide variety and a good-sized quantity.

Sources can be newspapers, magazines, instruction manuals, recipes, any kind of list, fortune cookies or horoscopes, textbooks, grafitti, personal memorabilia like letters, emails, even spam.

Put them in a container and pull out 10 to 15 selections (or whatever number you choose) at random and lay them face up on your work surface, in the order in which you drew them.

Write down these lines and see if there is any way you can connect them to make some sense of them by adding punctuation, line spacing, altering the tense, making words plural or singular, and so forth while striving to keep to the natural order as much as possible. If lines don’t work in the position they were in, feel free to move them.

Last, give the poem a title. This step may be the key to making the poem a cohesive whole, so take some time with it.

There is something so magical and intriguing about this process, evoking the gods of synchronicity and the harmony of the universe in this act of creation.

Here is one of my found poems written with this technique, in which I strictly retained the word’s natural order.

Burning Heart

Travel darkening wind,
Natural angel.
Rambling conversation
Asian kill complete.

What you don’t know CAN hurt you
FLASH! A distant sun.

Secrets of the charming opium
Remember romance.

©2011 Lin Neiswender

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