Saturday, 30 November 2013

Found Poetry

00:00:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , , , , , 2 comments
 by Ashley Lister

 One writing exercise that I’ve never used in class works around the concept of ‘found poetry.’

Charles Saatchi has
told a court he has
"no proof"
his ex-wife Nigella Lawson
ever took drugs –
despite an email he sent
claiming she was
"off her head".

He was giving evidence
at the trial
of the couple's assistants
Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo who
using their employers'
credit cards.

The Grillos' defence
has claimed the sisters
were allowed to spend 
by Ms Lawson
to cover her 
use of drugs.

Addressing the Grillos'
defence counsel
Mr Saatchi said: "I have
no proof."

Art dealer
Mr Saatchi
told defence barrister
Anthony Metzer QC
at Isleworth Crown Court: "I have
seen any evidence of Nigella
taking any drug

This story originally appeared on the following link:

The concept of found poetry is to take an existing text, a transcript of conversation, an example text from a different genre or, as here, a new story: and use line breaks to give it the appearance of a poem.
From there, the poem is then likely to be constructed by the reader as a poem, rather than a piece of news. Here’s another one I constructed from an email that may or may not have been spam. It discusses suspicious activity on my Barclays Bank account however, because I don’t have a Barclays Bank account, I suspect it might not be entirely legitimate.

We Have Observed Frequently Login Attempts

Dear Customer, We
recently have determined
that different computers
have logged in
your Barclays
account, and
multiple password
failures were
present before
the logons.

Do not
ignore this
message is
for your security.

For your security
we have temporary
your account.
download the document
attached to this
email and fill

If you do
not restore your
account within 24
we will be forced to
your account
as it may have been
for fraudulent

We apologize for

It’s not original. It’s arguable as to whether or not it’s really poetry. But it’s a fun exercise – particularly for those who are feeling uninspired. If you have access to a news story or a block of text, try it and see if you can “find” some poetry in the commonplace of regular text.

As always, if you want to share your work in the comments box below, it would be fun to see what you’ve done with this one. 


Colin Davies said...

A flurry of promotions
tied to Black Friday
have caused a frenzy
for some UK retailers,
with a fight breaking out
in one Asda shop
apparently over
discounted televisions.

I like found poetry. It's a very good tool for comedy.

Fab exercise.

Ashley R Lister said...

The comedy value of the poetic layout is underestimated. There's a huge difference between:
You smell lovely...


You smell

Like the Black Friday poem.