Found poetry  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Found poetry is created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions. The resulting poem can be defined as treated, that is changed in a profound and systematic manner or untreated: conserving virtually the same order, syntax and meaning as in the original.

Comparisons and predecessors

Franze Stenzel describes the Dadaism movement with its readymade philosophy as a predecessor for the practice that later became found poetry. Dadaists like Duchamp placed everyday practical objects in an environment that was aesthetic and in so doing called into question, that object as art, the observer, the aesthetic environment and the definition of what is art.

Stylistically, found poetry is similar to the visual art of "appropriation" in which two- and three-dimensional art is created from recycled items, giving ordinary/commercial things new meaning when put within a new context in unexpected combinations or juxtapositions.


An example of found poetry appeared in William Whewell’s "Middle Treatise on Mechanics"
"And hence no force, however great,
can stretch a cord, however fine,
into a horizontal line
that shall be absolutely straight."

though when it was pointed out to him, an unamused Whewell changed the wording in the next edition.

In 2003, Slate found poetry in the speeches and news briefings of Donald Rumsfeld.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Found poetry" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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