The Found Poetry Review is a biannual poetry journal celebrating the poetry in the existing and the everyday. We publish found poetry, centos, erasure poems and other forms that incorporate elements of existing texts. Prior to Spring/Summer 2012, we published quarterly editions online. We now publish two print editions biannually.
Read on to review commonly accepted definitions of found poetry, access prominent examples of found poetry hosted elsewhere on the web and learn how found poetry fits into fair use standards.
Definition of Found Poetry
Here are two definitions of found poetry we (appropriately) found on existing sites.
Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems.
and from Wikipedia:
Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and re-framing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions. The resulting poem can be defined as either treated: changed in a profound and systematic manner; or untreated: virtually unchanged from the order, syntax and meaning of the original.
Examples of Found Poetry
For a few examples of found poetry, check out the following sources:
- “Tea Party Poems: The Spoken Verse of Sarah Palin” by Hart Seely on Slate.
- “The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld: Recent Works by the Secretary of Defense” by Hart Seely on Slate.
- Found Poems by Robert Phillips on The Writer’s Almanac
- Found Poem Student Challenge in The New York Times
- “Near but Far, and Perhaps Unattainable” (found poems from Craigslist) by Alan Feuer in The New York Times.
Found Poetry and Fair Use Standards
The editors do not claim copyright on any source material incorporated into the poems published on this site. We believe that publishing found poetry falls under Fair Use standards, and aim to adhere to the Center for Social Media’s “Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Poetry,” which contains the following guidelines for found poetry:
NEW WORKS “REMIXED” FROM OTHER MATERIAL: ALLUSION, PASTICHE, CENTOS, ERASURE, USE OF “FOUND” MATERIAL, POETRY-GENERATING SOFTWARE
DESCRIPTION: What is now called remixing is a contemporary version of allusion or pastiche and has long been an important part of poetic practice. In general, it takes existing poetry (or literary prose) as its point of reference. In some cases, however, the stuff of poetic remix may come from other sources, including (but not limited to) advertising copy and ephemeral journalism. Members of the poetry community also recognize that technology has extended the range of techniques by which language from a range of sources may be reprocessed as new creative work.
PRINCIPLE: Under fair use, a poet may make use of quotations from existing poetry, literary prose, and non-literary material, if these quotations are re-presented in poetic forms that add value through significant imaginative or intellectual transformation, whether direct or (as in the case of poetry-generating software) indirect.
- Mere exploitation of existing copyrighted material, including uses that are solely “decorative” or “entertaining,” should be avoided.
- Likewise, the mere application of computer technology does not, in itself, render quotation or re-use of an existing poem fair.
- If recognizable in the final product, quotations should be brief in relation to their sources, unless there is an articulable rationale for more extensive quotation.
- The poet should provide attribution in a conventionally appropriate form unless it would be truly impractical or artistically inappropriate to do so.