In my previous two blogs for the month of April about poetry, I gave two suggestions: trying your hand with a “found poem” and imitating a favorite poem or poet by copying one example and substituting its form with your own words to practice “writing a better poem.”
To illustrate how a found poem works, I took a favorite Psalm from the Bible and did the following:
1. I copied words, phrases, or verses from the psalm that I really loved unto a sheet of paper, one example per line, then I cut them into movable pieces with a pair of scissors.
2. In a found poem, you are not allowed to add or change ANYTHING; you can only work with the words, phrases, or verses you have chosen. You cannot punctuate differently or add punctuation where it might be needed, but you can repeat words, phrases, or verses to create a refrain or make transitions or to emphasize images. It will look very “modern.”
3. I took my bits of paper and moved them into different positions, paring phrases down to single words if necessary and creating line breaks where I wanted.
It is always best to show an example so below is my version of Psalm 91. I hope it inspires you to try your hand at a found poem. Happy April is Poetry Month!
Psalm 91: I Will Be With You
I will protect those who know my name
You will not fear the terror of the night
I will be with them
When they call me, I will answer them
bear you up
no evil shall befall you
guard you in all ways
from the snare of the fowler
You will tread on the lion and the adder
You will not fear the terror of the night.