Craft Talk: Found Poetry Prompt

Note: The tag of this prompt has been changed. It is now GWNfoundpoetry. Happy writing, Figpoets!

The seeds of a poem can come from anywhereburning trash, sharks, aliens, or another poem. Our friends at Girls Write Now, a fantastic writing mentorship program in New York, call poems inspired by other poems “found poetry”, and they let us sit in on their recent craft talk to learn all about the form.

Watch an excerpt of the talk that poet, translator, and Columbia University professor Idra Novey gave about her writing process (you can see the whole talk here) and then try your hand at creating your own found poetry using the awesome prompt below, courtesy of GWN.

From a Poem Comes a Poem: Found Poetry Prompt

Select your favorite poem of all time–or of the moment! Sit with the full poem in front of you. Re-read it once or twice.

Next, choose any or all of the five prompts below to respond to—choose the ones that jump out at you as the most interesting or inspiring. Let your imagination roam free and have fun creating a brand-new poem inspired by your favorite poet!

1. Choose any five words from your favorite poem and use them to write your own new poem.

2. Use the first line of your favorite poem to start your poem. OR, choose a different line from anywhere in the poem and include it somewhere within in your poem.

3. Choose three words from your favorite poem and use synonyms for them in your poem. OR choose three words from the poem and use antonyms of these words in your poem.

4. Choose two words that are used as verbs in your favorite poem and use them as nouns in your poem. OR choose two words that are used as nouns and use them as verbs, instead.

5. Choose your favorite phrase, or line, and read it backwards. Include this backwards phrase in your poem.

(And be sure to tag your poem GWNFoundPoetry!)

You can download a PDF of the prompt here.

17 thoughts on “Craft Talk: Found Poetry Prompt

  1. When I click on the link to download the pdf, I get this:

    “You have just tried to access a document in another KeepandShare account. To view it you need to ask the owner of the other account to set the Sharing controls to give your KeepandShare user name rights to view the document.”


  2. for some reason, when I tagged my story with “GirlsWriteNowFoundPoetry,” the tag disappeared. Twice. Could you please explain why? Thanks!

    • Hey Roberta-
      The tag for the challenge has been updated to “GWNFoundPoetry”. This should clear up any issues you were having!

  3. Well, I kind of just took the structure of the poem—rhymescheme, mood, style—and created a new poem that mirrored it. Is that okay?

  4. Hi, two questions.

    One, when does the prompt end?

    And two, how can I be sure I entered the contest correctly? I tagged my entry “gwnfoundpoetry” (the tag wouldn’t let me do capitals) but I’d like to be certain my writing is entered.

    Many thanks for hosting the competition!

    • Hi Clara,

      The prompt never “ends,” because this is not technically a contest. It’s just a few prompts to get your writing juices flowing! Have fun.

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