Found Poems

What Teacher's Make - Taylor Mali
The Girl Who Silenced the World for Five Minutes - Severit Suzuki

Found poems are literally “found” in a text. Students creatively use the language of the author to construct a poem about a topic. To write a "found poem":
  • Search for words that capture key concepts and use words/phrases to create an original free-verse poem.
  • Order, add a few words, manipulate, reorder, return to text to emphasize a certain idea.
  • Add a picture to help visualize and internalize the important concepts.
As part of instruction, the teacher circulates and interviews students about word/phrase selections to gain insights into their understanding of the content.

To locate a text that inspires your poem, you may:
1. Use one of the textbooks available in class
2. Briefly search the Internet for a text on the content area topic of your choice OR
3. Skim the content websites below to locate a short relevant text. high school English teacher's thoughts on freewriting (on his blog) and his 33 student's responses.

Here are some examples of Found poems students wrote from earlier semesters.

A Fraction
in Latin is fractus...
a broken number.
A relation between the part and the whole
Denominator at the bottom
Think "d" as in downstairs.
Numerator is at the top.
Think "n" as in north.
A pie being divided into equal parts.

by Kristen

by Chris

Lift a friend
Does he weigh less.
It's the bouyant force
pushing your fat friend up.
If he sites in a half full bathtub,
will the water spill over?
If so, water is being removed to make room
for your large friend.
That removed water has a weight too.
And it's equal to the
bouyant force pushing against your friend.
Let's say your friend discovers this
and makes it his "principle".
His name is Archimedes too,
and he knows about icebergs too.
Archimedes is more dense than an iceberg.
Therefore he sinks, and an iceberg floats.
If Archimedes was made out of wood,
he'd float.
If he were made out of metal,
he'd sink.
If he were made out of helium,
he's rise to the moon,
unlike the submarines
that release water to rise up,
and swallow water to sink.
Archimedes and his principle
found that if you are more
dense than everything around you,
you'll sink. And if you happen to be
less dense that everything,
you could be a continent drifting along
a sea of lava.
by Bronwyn & Liz

She can't see,
or hear,

Is it possible?
Can she learn?

Do they expect one blind child to teach another?

Her fingers learn.
At last, it finds its way out -
language -
she knows.

by Mike

17,0000 years ago
on the move.
Moving for the winter
Hunting in the snow
Snow melts
Hunting in the water
Hunting on the land.

7,000 years ago
growing food and taming animals
Shopping, Hunting, and Harvesting,
Harvest festival.

A Poem for Othello - The Good Fellow
by Britany

Othello was a man in Venice.
Roderigo was a menace
who made Iago buy more jewels
for the woman who was going to rule.

He kissed Deredemona's hand,
because he was the man.
He treated her like a joke
and so did the other Italian blokes.

Strangers, Oppressors, Survivors
by Rich

Dangerous, crossings,
New World they seek.
In a New World they settled,
needing help.

Help by Native Americans,
a friendship boomed
Years later, millions of lives are doomed.

Once a powerful nation,
dwindled to a few survivors,
Once small settlements,
now the mighty United States.

Discovering America
by Neil

Came over a landbridge to see a mammoth
Climate change came & the dinosaur was slammoth.

Humans evolved from huntahs' and gatherahs'
Then came together in tribes called Aztecs & Incahs

Many visitors came from far away lands
Spain, Portugal, Italy...& Vikings with big hands

Columbus & Cabot came and saw tress
Too bad they also brought disease

Vespucci followed & brought a name
U.S. of A to some sounded lame

Finally the English colonized
"Hello, Indians...Surprise!!"

Communism (A Nation Goes Dry)
by Will

Discourage Intoxication
Citizens' Control
Stop Gambling, Organized Crime,
and Political Corruption

Men wasting, families hungry,
Sober, Clearheaded
Theoretically dry
No Enforcement
Gangster's Wealth and Power Grow
Plague of Booze Consumes
The Hatchet
by Kristen

The answer.
Sweet raspberries and paining hunger.
A bear. Running away to seek shelter.
Night time.
Noises. It is the bear? The wind?
Terrifying sounds.

The Hatchet.
Thrown against the stone,
Pain in his leg.

Spreading pain
Porcupine quills sticking,
Aches increasing.

Feeling sorry for yourself won't work.
Dreaming of home.
His mother's secret. His father's message.

Make fire.
The Hatchet is the answer.

by Melissa

Aotro sito.
"Yo esola,"
We have to go.

The strawberries are gone
We can't work here
We braceros have to move
to Fresno.
To a garage with a dirt floor,

Everything in boxes
Even Mom's special pot.
All on top of Dad's jalopy,
It's everything we've got.

Working out in the field,
picking all day long,
my body is so sore.
The school bus passes by
my brother and I -
and our future is unsure.

I go to class
one day and try
to read the book in front of me
It's so hard, I cry.

I gain a friend,
and start to fit in.
On no...
Time to move again...