HERE ARE SOME HELPFUL INSTRUCTIONS:
- Find a couple random paragraph from a newspaper, magazine, book, etc. The selection should contain 100-200 words. You can also try recipe instructions, legal notices, and horoscopes.
- Read through your selection.
- Highlight or underline words, lines, etc that seem promising to you.
- Use what you selected to write a poem.
- You may add your own words, but no more than 50% of final poem may include new words.
- Your poem may be of any length, but it must focus on a single idea and be meaningful to you.
- Your poem does not need to be about the original topic.
- Each line does not need to be a complete sentence; experiment with ending lines in mid sentence and continuing on next line.
- Pay attention to how the poem looks on the page, the length of lines, how line are grouped, etc.
- Have a single idea in mind to help your poem come together.
- Try repeating lines or single words throughout poem.
- It is possible to create a poem without adding new words.
Here are a couple of examples from my files.
IN THE UNIVERSAL FASHION
When the innermost sanctum is locked up,
a seeker must be satisfied with a look at the walls.
Glimpsing houses packed tightly together,
we stroll down streets
where men greet each other warmly,
where they kiss on both cheeks,
where horns are forbidden,
and where woman, like old costumes,
follow suit as children are brought forward
to kiss lightly the hands of the sultan.
No glass in the windows. No gardens in yards.
But the desert blooms, and the peach tree
clings to a crag, a sort of blessing
where nothing is wasted.
In the universal fashion,
grown men walk the streets holding hands,
a curious custom to those with no closeness.
But don’t tease them;
they are made and unmade
according to mood.
As elegant as a new slaughter,
they send up flares of believability
like naked light bulbs offering the first rays of hope.
It sounds so romantic.
Perhaps we’ll pick poppies and be properly inspired
like bricks set in plaster at weird angles to the beam.
A found poem from: The Land and People of Turkey by William Spencer, 1958
THINK LIKE A BULLET
the beauty of the system?
it allows an avid revolver man
to tinker endlessly
with his handloads
wringing the last bit
of performance out
a simple procedure
which allows a shooter
to swap his four-inch barrel
for an eight-inch
first pick up the barrel
and screw it into the frame
(the barrel goes nearly
all the way in…)
slide the barrel shroud over
and female threads
have a certain tolerance
(if they didn’t, you wouldn’t
be able to use a wrench
to get them together…)
peace and quiet comes to an abrupt end
when someone smacks
the primer with the firing pin
then all hell breaks loose
an erupting volcano
looking for relief
can only overcome
and go forward
into the throat
the system works
a found poem from Hand Gunner, Jan/Feb 1993