Found Poetry Review

May 12, 2014 — 4 Comments

found poetry

I came across this journal when I was looking for some unique places to send found poetry. Found Poetry Review says that “found poetry is the literary version of a collage. Poets select a source text or texts — anything from traditional texts like books, magazines and newspapers to more nontraditional sources like product packaging, junk mail or court transcripts — then excerpt words and phrases from the text(s) to create a new piece.”

One example from this issue:

Travels with Sarah

by Johanna Donovan

Across the hotel, a wind almost
shakes the trees from their cages.

I’m afraid of myself here, at the bottom
of the sky.

My heart is the shape of Spain
and even the rain is sick of Italy.

Go out, go out wherever you are.

I hum the lake. Every night it’s there
in my ear, leaving, arriving…and I’m

reminded of a snowless winter light
years ago when I loved someone

too young for me. How we have fallen
behind in the story.

Mind the pigeons plumbing through
the sky like dirty hands through water!

I’ve forgotten what I wished for;
perhaps it has come quietly.

Source: Cento from the final lines (and one mid-poem line) of poems by Sarah J. Sloat: “Postcards from Paris”, “From the Back of My Mind”, “”Rioja”, “Here on Business”, “Outdoor Cafe, October”, “Hive”, “Waterfall”, “Across the Time Zones”, “Mid-March”, “Train 21” and “Snow Path.”

My favorite verb in the poem is “plumbing” from the next to last stanza. This style of writing would appeal to anyone who likes the magpie approach to poems, collecting shiny bits here and there and connecting the dots.

Annie Dillard says this about found poetry:

“Happy poets who write found poetry go pawing through popular culture like sculptors on trash heaps. They hold and wave aloft usable artifacts and fragments: jingles and ad copy, menus and broadcasts — all objet trouvés, the literary equivalents of Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans and Duchamp’s bicycle. By entering a found text as a poem, the poet doubles its context. The original meaning remains intact, but now it swings between two poles. The poet adds, or at any rate increases, the element of delight. This is an urban, youthful, ironic, cruising kind of poetry. It serves up whole texts, or interrupted fragments of texts.” — Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard has her own book of found poems out. It’s titled, Mornings Like This: Found Poems.

annie dillard

To find out more about submitting to Found Poetry Review, guidelines are on their website here. has more information and examples of found poetry here.



4 responses to Found Poetry Review


    A found poem or a cento is a collaborative art. Lately I’ve been reading Wolf Cento by Simone Muench. I like how she takes lines from hundreds of poems and repurposes them to fit a theme. I see this kind of writing as a way to liberate the poetic voice from the ego or identity of the poet.


      I’ve looked at Wolf Cento, and it is amazing that the lines don’t seem to be drawn from different sources. I think you are right that an approach like this can lead to new insights and rhythms.


        I’ve been writing quite a lot of found poetry in the last couple of years, especially the last two Aprils for the Found Poetry Review’s month-long challenges. Centos are one of my favourite found forms. The Donovan poem is an excellent one, seamless as it mixes lines from other voices. I am going to check out the Annie Dillard book as well. Have read Wolf Centos. And loved it. Also Hooking by Mary Dalton from Newfoundland.


        Thanks so much for mentioning Dalton’s book! I haven’t done the FPR April challenge but it sounds productive!

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