Poetry Prompt: Define “Poetry”


This post is part of a series of weekly found poetry prompts. If you have an idea for a found poetry source, email Senior Poetry Editor Beth Ayer.

How many of you have had the following experience? You write poetry over many years and then one day you “discover” found poetry. You explore techniques such as erasure, cut-up, free-form and cento, and suddenly every bit of text—from street signs to product packaging to the novel you’re currently reading—is now also a clever hiding spot for poetry. Now you’re holding more than a book…it’s a black box of as-yet-unexposed messages. It’s a petri dish playing out the chemical reaction that is the meeting between your perspective and what’s already on the page.

How would you describe the experience of writing found poetry?

Your task: open the dictionary to any page (in any print copy you have on hand) and inspect the two-page spread for the words of your poem. In your resulting poem, describe the act of writing poetry, especially found poetry. Please share the results in the comments!

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