foundpoetrystudio .  Poetrywriting Exercises



Exercise 2: Found Poem using any two sources selected by the author


Found Poetry Exercise 2




   Neal Whitman    /NW

   Shanna Baldwin Moore    /SBM

   Linda Papanicolau    /LP

   Karina Klesko    /KK

Dragons at the Door: Haibun 
Daylily - Following the Sun 
Daylily - Following the Sun - White   
Daylily - Following the Sun - Black 
Sijo / Korean Song: Proverbs

   Bernard Gieske    /BG

Tribute To Jean Ritchie: Free Verse

   John Daleiden    /JD

The Interloper Journeys From Page to Page

A Night At The Opera: Incremental Line Increase

   Judith Gorgone    /JG

as big as life: Free Verse

   Craig Tigerman

Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear















































































































John Daleiden: Exercise 2: Two sources in a Found Poem Incremental Increase


A Night At The Opera


...And An Alternative Version...

Scooping the Streets



Source 1: Title: "A Night At The Opera" is a borrowed title of course. Wikipedia lists the particulars below for this iconic film:

A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, and featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, and Walter Woolf King. It was the first film the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from Paramount Pictures, and the first after Zeppo left the act. The film was adapted by George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, Al Boasberg (uncredited), and Buster Keaton (uncredited) from a story by James Kevin McGuinness. Most of the physical gags were wholly lifted from Keaton's 1932 film Speak Easily. It was directed by Sam Wood.

In 1993, "A Night at the Opera" was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Source 2:  (¦bel ¦shāpt ′kərv) [bell shaped curve]

(statistics) The curve representing a continuous frequency distribution with a shape having the overall curvature of the vertical cross section of a bell; usually applied to the normal distribution.

~McGraw-Hill Science & Technology Dictionary: bell-shaped curve

Read more:

Source 3:

"Oh, easy for Leonardo!" A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.

Leonardo Da Vinci was certainly no stranger to the use codes and encryption. His notes are all written backwards with "mirror" writing. It is unclear exactly why Leonardo did this. The Dylan Thomas reference in the short story is possibly about Leonardo's well known secret practices. In both the poem and the short story the remark is both cryptic and sarcastic.

Source 4: a familiar and popular quotation: "It's not over until the fat lady sings".

It ain't over till (or until) the fat lady sings is a colloquialism, essentially meaning that one should not assume the outcome of some activity (e.g. a sporting contest) until it has actually finished, similar to a common proverb. It is a perception of Grand Opera, with its stereotypically overweight sopranos.

Its use in sports journalism has been attributed to writer/broadcaster Dan Cook; his original line was "The opera ain't over till the fat lady sings." This occurred in April 1978, when he used the phrase after the first basketball game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Washington Bullets  (now the Washington Wizards) during the 1977–1978 National Basketball Association playoffs, to illustrate that while the Spurs had won once, the series was not over yet.

The imagery of Richard Wagner's opera suite Der Ring des Nibelungen and its last part, Götterdämmerung, is typically the one used in depictions accompanying reference to the phrase. The "fat lady" is the valkyrie Brünnhilde, who is traditionally presented as a very buxom lady with horned helmet, spear and round shield (although Brünnhilde actually wears a winged helmet[citation needed]). Her aria lasts almost twenty minutes and leads directly to the end of the opera, though the character Hagen has one final line, "Zurück vom Ring!", to sing after Brünnhilde's death, and there is also a substantial orchestral finale.[3] As Götterdämmerung is about the end of the world (or at least the world of the Norse gods), in a very significant way "it is [all] over when the fat lady sings."

The four operas in Wagner's Ring Cycle is a work of extraordinary scale. Perhaps the most outstanding facet of the monumental work is its sheer length: a full performance of the cycle takes place over four nights at the opera, with a total playing time of about 15 hours


Author Comments:

The Incremental Increase Found Poem, "A Night At The Opera" uses several techniques. First, the entire poem is cast as an image. This places an emphasis on the graphic element, often omitted from earlier Found Poem literature. The graphic image of the Bell curve is superimposed over the central word image of the poem. The words of the poem are displayed as a mirror image—enigmatically the reverse; the mirror image is presented first, and is of course the most difficult part to read since it is contrary to the traditional notion of writing. The traditional left to right word image is presented on the right.

The second element of this found poem is the words which have been directly transferred from an essay on Found Poetry published by The Academy of American poets at
Poetic Form: Found Poem. The short essay is included with this document (see below); the yellow highlighting indicates the exact words and portions that have been re-ordered into the text of a new poem.

A third element of this found poem is the use of pastiche, a literary artistic genre or technique that is a "hodge-podge" or imitation. The word is a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language. In this usage, a work is called a pastiche if it is cobbled together in imitation of several original works. As the Oxford English Dictionary puts it, a pastiche in this sense is "a medley of various ingredients; a hotchpotch, farrago, jumble." This meaning accords with etymology: pastiche is the French version of the Greco-Roman dish pastitsio or pasticcio, a kind of pie made of many different ingredients.

A fourth element in this found poem is the verse format. This Incremental Increase poem is based on the concept of syllable counting.  Note that sequential numbers from 0 through 10 are placed after the last word of each line; these numbers also represent the number of syllables in each line.  Additionally ,the spaced and resulting curvature of the shape of the lines resembles the bell shaped curve--an image superimposed on the poem.

Source for text of the new poem:

Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems.

A pure found poem consists exclusively of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few additions or omissions. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet.

Examples of found poems can be seen in the work of Blaise Cendrars, David Antin, and Charles Reznikoff. In his book Testimony, Reznikoff created poetry from law reports, such as this excerpt:

Amelia was just fourteen and out of the orphan asylum; at her
first job--in the bindery, and yes sir, yes ma'am, oh, so
anxious to please.
She stood at the table, her blond hair hanging about her
shoulders, "knocking up" for Mary and Sadie, the stichers
("knocking up" is counting books and stacking them in piles to
be taken away).

Many poets have also chosen to incorporate snippets of found texts into larger poems, most significantly Ezra Pound. His Cantos includes letters written by presidents and popes, as well as an array of official documents from governments and banks. The Waste Land, by T. S. Eliot, uses many different texts, including Wagnerian opera, Shakespearian theater, and Greek mythology. Other poets who combined found elements with their poetry are William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson, and Louis Zukofsky.

The found poem achieved prominence in the twentieth-century, sharing many traits with Pop Art, such as Andy Warhol's soup cans or Marcel Duchamp's bicycle wheels and urinals. The writer Annie Dillard has said that turning a text into a poem doubles that poem's context. "The original meaning remains intact," she writes, "but now it swings between two poles."

The Academy of American poets at Poetic Form: Found Poem.

Examples of Found Poems:

Day [excerpt] by Kenneth Goldsmith
Found Poem by Howard Nemerov
The Hills, 5 by Kate Durbin
Miss Scarlett by Vanessa Place
National Laureate by Robert Fitterman

A plain text rendering of the poem:

A Night At The Opera
texts,   1
speeches,   2
graffiti,               3
newspapers, signs— 4
refashioned snippets      5
combined and reordered—    6
the waste land pounded into         7
Pop Art soup cans, bicycle wheels—    8
presidents, popes, governments and banks— 9
the found elements swing between two poles       10

foundpoetrystudio Post Nos. 63, 66, 71, 73, 74, 75,76,77, 96


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John Daleiden: Exercise 2: Two sources in a Found Poem Incremental Increase


A Night At The Opera


The Task: Write a found Poem using any two or more sources selected by the author.

Be sure to identify your sources; for each source include title, author, publisher, and / or an on-line link if one is available.

Title your poem. 

Be sure to save a copy of your poem to your own computer; then post to the foundpoetrystudio.

Definition Material:


Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems.

and from Wikipedia:

Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and re-framing 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 either treated: changed in a profound and systematic manner; or untreated (verbatim): virtually unchanged from the order, syntax and meaning of the original.

Posting / Submission:

Post to the foundpoetrystudio at this link:

  •  click post
  • select rich-text format
  • paste in your document or type in your document
  • format your document
  • PROOF READ YOUR DOCUMENT -- this is very important!
  • send your document
  • respond to feedback

List of Resources:

The Found Poetry Review: an on-line journal

This quarterly on-line journal provides good definitions of "found poetry", examples, and a fair use standard.

They publish found poetry, centos, erasure poems and other forms that incorporate elements of existing texts.

Read Examples of Found Poems:

The Found Poetry Review:

Sketchbook: A Journal for Eastern and Western Short Forms:  Found Poem Contest