Find Your Poetry
Updated: May 29
Art making episode and song, mini lesson for KTVU's SF Loves Learning television show below!
Every artist you know has sampled, been inspired by, or re-purposed art from other artists. The creating process needs a starting point and 99% of the time, the starting point comes from something that already exists.
How can you use text that already exists to create your one-of-a-kind poetry?
How can you steal like an artist?
Could you borrow ideas from watching Miriam Paternoster create found poetry?
Could you explore different methods of finding poetry?
If you want to extend upon this process, consider the MoMA's ideas and prompts for found poetry.
Before You Begin:
When The Piece Feels Finished:
While art is never finished (it's alive and living!), share your art when you feel that it is grounded and whole - when you feel you have given it your full attention and care. Share your art by hanging it on a wall in your house, posting it on-line, or mailing it to someone you love.
Scroll down to see examples, extending ideas, and making steps!
Feelings and mini art making mini lesson for KTVU's SF Loves Learning television show:
Find Your Poetry art making episode:
Steps for Finding Your Poetry:
1. Yell: "5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Make Art!" (This transitions your brain; there's research about this!)
2. Find a text that you can recycle and use for art (magazine, newspaper, junk mail, cereal box).
3. Collect writing utensils for the found poetry. You can choose to use one material or many (sharpie/pen/highlighter/markers/color pencils/crayons/paint).
4. Become a detective and decide on your found poetry process.
Find words on the page first, highlighting/circling/boxing them to create meaning, and then illustrate/design around the words
Draw a picture and then find words within the picture to highlight/circle/box
Cut up the words and then reassemble them
Create your own process for making poetry from existing text
5. When you feel finished with your found poem - when you feel grounded and whole in your art making, and have given the process your attention and care, see what you can notice in your product:
What words most stand out?
How might a different process yield a different product?
Is your poem at all related to the original text?
How might this art piece live in the world? (I could mail this poem to someone who can relate with the sentiment. I could create a diary out of the collection of found poems that I build. I could share this process with someone when I talk to them on the phone.)
6. Share your poem with someone in your life and see if they'd like to try the process.
7. Notice your state-of-being: how do you feel? How can you describe your state-of-being?
8. Repeat the process and create a series.
Play with constraints:
try a different type of text
try a different process for creating each time
create a collaborative piece with someone else, taking turns choosing words and filling in the negative space
set a timer and only make for a specific amount of time
And, voilà: you've made found poetry!