A Found Poem is the literary equivalent of a collage.  It is created by taking words, phrases or passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in the order of the lines, spacing, and punctuation to impart new meaning.  Text may be added and/or deleted, but any changes should be minor.

Inspired by Shannon Noel Brady’s LET’S DEWEY THIS, I went to the library to “find” a poem.  I randomly chose ten books, one from each block of the Dewey Decimals (the 000’s, 100’s, 200’s, etc).  With eyes closed, I opened each book and pointed to a passage, then copied it down.  The found poem didn’t come together immediately, in fact, I got frustrated and stuffed the notebook in a desk drawer.  Recently, when I came across it again, the phrases somehow made sense.  I left them whole, changing nary a word, and arranged them into a logical order, which resulted in this Found, Lost, and Found Again Poem:



There is an element of chance
in everything except knowledge.
Danger is always lurking
even if we cannot see it,
for the public cares intensely
about clean air and water but
hardly at all about the big invisibles.
We broke the cycle; we were just like,
“This isn’t going to go on anymore.”
Having marched to the brink
of heaven and hell,
we abruptly pulled back
toward the music we heard
from the old carousel.
Now, the realm of God is at our door.
It seems even more beautiful
than we remembered.
There are no boundaries;
the only rule is “break the rules.”
Beneath no one, superior to no one,
we are full of magic,
mystery, and enchantment.

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24 thoughts on “NOW WHERE DID I PUT THAT POEM?

    • Just Joan November 13, 2016 / 10:00 am

      Exactly! It’s like ten stolen quotes, all rolled into one and arranged in a (somewhat?) sensible order. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Karolyn Teufel November 13, 2016 / 11:46 pm

    well, now i’m curious about the sources…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 14, 2016 / 8:01 am

      Sorry, KT, I didn’t write down the names of the books. But since they span the Dewey Decimals, there was one phrase from each of these categories: general/computer science/info, philosophy and psychology, religion, social sciences, language, pure sciences, technology, arts and recreation, literature, history and geography. Pretty diverse, yet it all goes together. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 14, 2016 / 6:43 pm

      Thanks, Lana. Once I decided to stop steering it and let it go whatever way it wanted, it almost finished itself. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. T. Garvin, Author November 14, 2016 / 8:31 pm

        It’s a rather similar thing to blackout poetry, are you familiar with that? It is simply blacking out certain lines on a page where the non-blackened areas are put together to form a poem.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan November 15, 2016 / 7:00 am

        Had not heard of that form, but sounds interesting. Fun exercise for a rainy (or snowy) day. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • L. T. Garvin, Author November 15, 2016 / 9:16 am

        It’s pretty cool….I did this activity with jr. High students. The blackout pattern can also turn the page into into a piece of art. Added bonus 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan November 15, 2016 / 1:12 pm

        In my poetry class last year, one of our essay questions was “In terms of enjoyment of poetry, would it be worse to be deaf or blind?” I thought this was a no-brainer. At first. Through the semester, I came to see poetry as a visual art as well an auditory one. Your blackout idea intrigues me, can’t wait to try it.


  2. T. Wayne November 15, 2016 / 7:34 am

    Each one of the lines could be the starting point of its own poem; to put them together in a way that flows as well as this does is awesome. Good job, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shannon Noel Brady November 15, 2016 / 3:27 pm

    What an interesting exercise! I love how you put this together. And it actually turned out pretty coherent. Obscure, yes… Mysterious, of course… But in a way it works. Thanks for linking to my project, I’m glad it inspired you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 18, 2016 / 11:12 am

      Thanks, Shannon. Hope you will continue your Let’s Dewey This posts, they are one of my favorites to read. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Shannon Noel Brady November 18, 2016 / 11:47 am

        Aw, thanks! I definitely will, but in 2017 I’m not going to go in Dewey order, I’m just going to read a nonfiction each month that interests me.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sharon Garwig November 17, 2016 / 12:02 pm

    That is so freaking cool! where do you come up with all these literary terms? Who would have thought of “finding” a poem in other pieces of literature? You never cease to amaze me, Behanz.

    Looking so forward to seeing you at Thanksgiving! Can hardly wait for the giddying to begin!

    Love and miss you!



    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 17, 2016 / 6:06 pm

      I am slowly working my way through an old college level poetry course (found the book in one of our town’s Little Free Libraries) with a chapter on different forms. My last half dozen posts are examples of new forms I’ve tried–ghazals, acrostics, sevenlings, cascades, palindromes, and “found” poetry. Who knows what’s next? Stay tuned. Love you, Sis!


  5. chevvy8 June 18, 2017 / 8:17 am

    This is a beautiful poem Joan. I want to come back and read it again. In the meanwhile, reading through the comments, I did feel that each line lent itself to another poem so I tried my hand using the first line and really let it take me where it wanted without much editing. I’ll post it shortly.😀

    Liked by 1 person

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