A list of found poems


As the holiday season continues I repost this list of various found poems that I have made over the last few years.

Looking forward to seeing you later in August for more news of books and readings etc.


Who would we be?, by Susan Sontag

When poetry moved underground, by Czeslaw Milosz

This divine breath, by Johann Herder

Poets who remain poets, by Stephen Dunn

Other objects, by Primo Levi

A need to answer, by Robert Pinsky

Why did I write it down?, by Joan Didion

On noticing, by Verlyn Klinkenborg

How we spend our days, by Annie Dillard

August, by Tove Jansson

A sense of wonder, by Arthur Frank

A book into which everything can go, by Thomas Merton

What it’s like to be human, by Mark Strand


Annie Dillard on vision:

In the actual rooms of time, however,
it is a page or two of legal paper
filled with words and questions.


Ted Hughes on the effect of Arvon:

At the same time she is introduced to literature
as a living organism,
part of the human organism,
something which embodies the psychological record of this drama
of being alive,
something which articulates and illuminates the depth
and range and subtlety of being human.


Muriel Rukeyser on the fear of poetry:

But there is one kind of knowledge —
infinitely precious, time-resistant
more than monuments,
here to be passed between the generations
in any way it may be: never to be used.
And that is poetry.


Adrienne Rich on the functions of art:

One of the great functions                          of art

is to help us                                        imagine

what it is like              to be



Kenneth Koch on the New York Poets:

We inspired each other,
we envied each other,
we emulated each other,
we were very critical of each other,
we admired each other,
we were almost entirely dependent on each other for support.


Jorie Graham on silence:

I think I am probably in love with silence,
that other world.

And that I write, in some way,
to negotiate seriously with it.


Janna Malamud Smith on creativity and failure:

Even the greatest, most fully realized artists
can see beyond their work,
to what their work might have been.


Mark Strand on reading poetry:

When I read poetry
I want to feel myself
suddenly larger…


Octavio Paz on poetry:

Poetry is knowledge, salvation, power abandonment.
An operation capable of changing the world,
poetic activity is revolutionary by nature;
a spiritual exercise, it is a means of interior liberation.


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