Discussion, Brainstorming, Initial Research, and Outline Assignment

Kaylyn Noel
3 min readApr 8, 2022
Image From https://ypn.poetrysociety.org.uk/workshop/august-challenge-2-found-poetry/

Poetic Form Chosen: Found Poetry

Poets I am Researching: Elizabeth Alexander, Charles Reznikoff and Jonathan Williams

2 Influential Ideas of Form: Forms do political work and forms differ. With found poetry, it is easy to make a political or “controversial” statement (poem) by taking the words from say a document or law report and making it say something new, what you believe or meaning it may actually have to you. Forms differ as found poetry always looks different. Sometimes it has rhyme, sometimes it has rhythm, but it does always create a new and different image and order through all the kinds of found poetry there are.

Format Being Considered: Solo/monologue

Resources I have Found: An Intro to Elizabeth Alexander → https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/elizabeth-alexander

An Intro to Jonathan Williams → https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/jonathan-williams

“Influence Poetry and Found Poetry…” → https://web.p.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=10&sid=d62578ce-02aa-435d-8df3-088d25202cd8%40redis

“Feminist Identity in…Found Poetry” → https://web.p.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=14&sid=d62578ce-02aa-435d-8df3-088d25202cd8%40redis

Found Poetry Introduction → https://poets.org/glossary/found-poem

“Lyric Lost and Found” → https://web.s.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=91399a13-a5ac-447c-85a2-edcfb508557e%40redis

Guiding Questions About Found Poetry: How does Elizabeth Alexander’s creation or use of found poetry with “The Dirt-Eaters” change or emphasize the themes and image she is trying to get across through her work?

How does Reznikoff’s use of law reports to create found poetry impact the political message he tries to get across through his work?

Things I want my Audience to Learn From my Podcast: I want my audience to learn or take away that there are so many different poetic forms, and they can all therefore bring different things to what a poem is trying to do or say, whether it is trying to do or say anything at all, even. With found poetry, I think the idea that you can take text that has already been pieced together in other works, and then turn it into something new or something that just gives that text new meaning, or even challenges its meaning/reveals something about it. Piecing together words from something specific or something you see everyday, like the newspaper or street signs, I think shows that any text can have new or deeper meaning. As I have seen said, found poetry is like visual art that takes something, like much of the work of Andy Warhol, and creates something new. I want the audience to learn overall that texts can be reimagined into found poetry, and with that, new themes and messages can come alive in their new works.

Some of My Initial Brainstorming and Research:

  • What is “found poetry”? → Taking some sort of text, like newspaper or graffiti or road signs for example, and creating something new, a poem: what is the point or effect of finding words already written by others to make something of your own?
  • There is a long history of found poetry, but gained popularity in the 1900s
  • Erasure, blackout, collage, are all types of common found poetry (I will talk about a few of them)

Example of Some of My Rough Outline:

Question 1-

Name of story/poem/creative nonfiction: “The Dirt-Eaters” by Elizabeth Alexander

Working Topic: Found Poetry and what it does for a poem/its themes or its intent

Working Research Question:

Who? — Elizabeth Alexander

What? — using/creating found poetry

Where? — in her poem “The Dirt-Eaters”

Why? — the effect taking words from a New York Times article (creating a found poem) has on the themes and purpose of the words she has taken in order to make something of her own.

Revised Research Question: How does Elizabeth Alexander’s creation or use of found poetry with “The Dirt-Eaters” change or emphasize the themes and image she is trying to get across through her work?

Your Search Keyword list (minimum 4): Elizabeth Alexander, found poetry, Elizabeth Alexander “The Dirt-Eaters”, poem themes



Kaylyn Noel

My name is Kaylyn Noel and I am a Sophomore English Major at Siena College. I am also Co-Editor-In-Chief of “The Promethean”, the Siena College newspaper.