Tag Archives: found poem

#287: The Resident 12 Year Old Writes a Bunch of Easter Egg Notes for His Dad


(a found poem, with minor edits)

Out of all the people
I could think to be my dad,
you fall into that category easily.
Thank you for making me
grilled cheese sandwiches
so I don’t die.
All around people love you
(the person in front of you,
your lodge buddies, your
workspace friends, etc.);
you know I don’t have
to explain that one.
You’re like a gallon of
chocolate milk–you’re sweet,
and love to have a breakfast.
Your skill with music
never decreases.
Thank you for helping me
through the tough parts
of growing up. In the scary
room you will find a special
treat. When we have
each other we have
everything. You are simply
amazing and life would
be different in a bad way
without you. When I am
playing upstairs when
the dirty girls are over,
I think, wow, their music
is coming along and it’s
enjoyable. You have always
been a kind and loving person
in my life. We are so lucky
to have the house we live in
and the Tanas and Rubies
we have, the bread that goes
on the table because you worked
hard and got what we need
to survive in this cruel world.
But all this just makes the world
less cruel. I loved you yesterday,
I love you still, I always have,
I always will.
Don’t facebook this shit xoxo.


Filed under Family, Parenting, Poetry

#199: A Poem from Director’s Notes


A Poem from Director’s Notes

(for Michael Mendelson)

Move the language forward.
Move the language,
lift the language.
To whom are you talking?
There are only three possibilities:
the earth,
the gods,
or another human being.
If it happens to be a human being,
ask yourself: how do I feel about the
person I am with?
Volume and diction: if you can’t
hear your voice bouncing off
the back wall, you’re not
loud enough.
Make an investment:
know where you are going
and from where you are coming.
In Act III, scene i, how do you feel
about the heat? Whatever is going
on for you, let that be amplified.
Don’t let your mouth get ahead
of your mind. Make sure your brain,
your body, and your mouth are working
together. Use the words to create
emotion and not the other way around.
Exit more like cheetahs
and less like rhinos.
Juliet, I want you to stab yourself
three times. Romeo, Romeo–
(there is no response) are you asleep?
Finally, don’t play the end
before the end.  This is a corrupt
world and everyone here
is a survivor.


Filed under Poetry

#190: Wheels

For day #2 of napowrimo, I offer up a found poem, a poem that steals its text wholesale from some other non-poetic source, say, a newspaper article, or a sign, or the print on a cereal box. While the general rule of thumb is to find text that is innocent of even remotely being like poetry, I’ve chosen to steal from something more literary: Tom Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Like yesterday’s poem, this is an activity I also foisted on my students, a group of which just finished studying this particular play.


Wheels (from Tom Stoppard)

Wheels have been set
in motion,
and they have their
own place,
to which we are . . .


Each move is
dictated by
the previous one–
that is the meaning

of order.

If we start
being arbitrary,
it’ll just be shambles:
at least, let us hope so.


if we happened,
just happened to discover,
or even suspect,
that our spontaneity
was a part of their order
we’d know that we were


We do on stage
the things that are
supposed to happen off.
Which is a kind of integrity, if you
look on every exit
being an entrance 

somewhere else.  

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Filed under Poetry

#12: The Shadows

What follows is called a blackout poem. A kind of found poem, it requires a text of some kind, not poetry, and a felt tip marker. Essentially, you carve an original poem out of this pre-existing text, highlighting your chosen words, phrases, sentences, and blacking out or otherwise obscuring the rest. It becomes both a visual thing and a poem.

I chose the concluding passage from Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher.” My blackout is not all that attractive to look at, but I think I ended up with an interesting little poem. This is what it looks like:
Blackout Poem

and this is how it reads:

The Shadows

As if a spell
threw back ponderous jaws
without doors,
she remained,
trembling, moaning.

I found myself wild
and I turned for
the shadows.

While I gazed,
a fierce breath
burst my brain.
I saw the mighty walls,

the voice of
a thousand waters,
deep and dank.


Filed under Poetry