The basic idea of a Found Poem is that you “find” a poem in a piece of text that has already been created. Some great sources are magazines and books. Your final poem can be simple or complex; decorated or plain. The options are endless. You can find several examples on my Poetry Pinterest Board.
We decided to focus on Blackout Poetry, a type of Found Poetry in which the author blacks out the words that aren’t going to be part of the poem. The words that remain can be highlighted through artwork or simply left for viewing.
Our lesson began with a Blackout Poetry presentation by Laura Randazzo on Prezi. Once my kids and their friends were feelinginspired, we made photo copies of the pages in their favorite books for them to play around with.
NOTE: It would be WAY more fun to use the actual book page, so hit a library or book warehouse sale and grab a few titles to save for this activity! I plan to grab a few at our $1 book warehouse.
We began with pencils, circling words that stood out to us and working them into a design. It wasn’t easy, but it sure was fun.
Another way to approach this would be to write the words that stand out on post-it notes and play with them a bit, eliminating ones that won’t work and incorporating new ones until you are ready to circle them on the paper. Of course, you’ll have to keep them in some sort of order or use your design to guide us through the words you select.
The kids in my house that day ranged in age from 6 to 13 and everyone enjoyed creating these poems. Some students opted to maintain a simple blackout design while other students attempted to find a design.
Of course, you might have to convince your students that there isn’t a wrong way to create a Found (or Blackout) Poem.
Every poem doesn’t have to make complete sense. Every final product doesn’t have to look like an image. In fact, there doesn’t even have to be a final product to display. The process of playing with the words is its own lesson.
So have some fun. Play with the text. See what is FOUND.