Bout of Books Challenge: Found Poem

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Create a found* poem in three easy steps!

Welcome to the found poem challenge at Pen In Her Hand for Bout of Books. I’m thrilled to be hosting this challenge! There is no prize other than the joy of creating, so let’s begin and have fun!

Bout of Books

Just choose a novel from any genre, print or ebook, that you’re reading or have finished. I used Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison. Pick a number between 1 and 10, and you’re ready to start!

1. Flip to a page at random. Using your trusty number (for example, let’s use 7) count down 7 lines. Then count in 7 words. Write that word down. Repeat this process until your have fourteen words. Here are my words: have, general, darkness, week, sit, all, do, because, my, the, secret, what? says.

2. Delete two words and add in two words of your own. I deleted the words general and my. I added the words pause and then.

3. Now arrange your words any way you like to finish your found poem. Here’s my poem:

All week sit, do, put, have—
Then pause because…
The secret darkness
Says what?

Note: If a counted word doesn’t work (profanity or proper name), just go on to the next word.

Easy, right? Now it’s your turn to post your poem or a link to your poem in the comments for us to enjoy! And please tell us what book you used to create your poem.

*What is a found poem? A found poem consists of words taken from other written sources such as manuscripts, newspaper headlines, street signs, that are then crafted into a poetic form.





Bout of Books Challenge: Found Poem — 101 Comments

  1. I picked “After The End” by Amy Plum.

    My number is 6.

    My 14 words are: she’s, go, taken, and, sense, from, that, I, lips, where, pull, must, freak, won’t.

    Change “pull” to “my”, and “won’t” to “me”.

    I must go
    Where she’s taken.
    My lips sense that; freak.
    And from me.

    • Hi Andrea Rose,

      My number was 6, too! I especially like how you worked freak with that chilling last line “And from me.” Good job!

  2. I haven’t written a poem in years!
    I used The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, and used #5.
    Words: have, we, special, you, then, said, heaven, my, soulless, not, cars, game, of, the
    Replaced: cars with love, game with heart

    Have we heaven? you said.
    My soulless heart, not –
    The love of.

  3. soft something screamed vote that but a
    house dogs hurled ferociously the fantasy help
    those are the words I got using the number eight in the book Lies, by Michael Grant. Here is my poem:

    The fantasy dogs,
    hurled that house ferociously.
    But a soft something screamed
    Help vote

    • Hi SaraRose,

      Wow! I love the alliteration you used with hurled and house, and soft something. Nice juxtaposition of dark and light forces. Thanks for joining in!

    • Hi Jasmine,

      This one turned out so cute and funny! Hmmm…I’m picturing him now not wearing much and carrying a wash bag. Delicious!

  4. Pingback: A Found Poem – Bout of Books 9.0 Readathon Challenge | Kerrie Ann Salsac | Writing for Life

    • Hi Kerrie Ann,

      This is a fun one! Wonderful the way lies and tongue work together. I think I would not believe a Sorc’er’s lies either, especially if he had a cut throat! I visited your site, too.

  5. I used “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell:

    Watch words damage head,
    hand, heart.
    Hurt – Feel changed.
    Have precious bed,
    Want rescue.

    I really enjoyed this challenge – a fun way to work with words! Thank you!

  6. I picked up “The Dead and the Gone” by Susan Beth Pfeffer and used the number 3.

    My words: care, they, where, heard, special, would, be, almost, nothing, at, on, will, thoughts, pesto

    I changed AT to GO and PESTO to HE. Just couldn’t get Pesto to work in this poem. LOL

    My found poem:

    Special thoughts,
    Will he go on?
    Where would nothing be?
    They care,

    Thanks for hosting this challenge! It was really fun, and when I first got my words I was thinking “how in the world am I going to make a poem out of this?!” when suddenly it popped out! I think I am going to use this is a lesson ice breaker with some of my students.

    • Hi Jenna,

      That’s so cool! Please let me know how it goes with your students. I love connections.

      Your poem is wonderful. “Where would nothing be?” is such an evocative paradox. Your ending is wrenching. Nice!

  7. Cool challenge! I used “Hyperbole and a half” by Allie Brosh

    I changed one “it” to “books”, and “you” to “mind”

    toward it
    the place
    possess it
    a couple of books
    mind surgery

  8. Pingback: #BoutofBooks 9.0 Challenge: Found Poem | My Life in Books

  9. My poem came from using the number 7 in the book Matched by Ally Condie, it turned out ok but not great.
    The words I had were that clear microcard want wish the showing at real is fine it Grandia Xander
    I traded that for my and it for is

    Here is the poem:
    Microcard Xander?
    Not real.
    Showing Grandia,
    the want is clear.
    My wish is fine.

  10. Such a fun challenge! I used Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, and the number 5.
    My Words: a, until, pretty, of, knew, head, my, were, he, strong, into, you’d, in, no
    I exchanged WERE and IN for BE and WAY.

    No. You’d be strong
    until he knew of a way
    into my pretty head

    Thanks for hosting!

  11. Ok, my number is 3, and I’m picking words from the book I’m currently reading, The Shadowhunter’s Codex. This should be fun.

    My words: seraphic, conditions, that, a, particularly, the, this, They, one, demons, find, more, true, allow

    I’m scratching a and allow, and adding demonic and covenant.

    My poem:
    They demons find
    The seraphic conditions
    More true
    that this one particularly
    demonic covenant.

    So clunky, I know, but it was a fun challenge to do. Thank you for hosting! 😉

    • Hi Caterina,

      Your motif of demons and seraphs works well here. I think my favorite is the first line “They demons find” Thank you for participating!

  12. Here is my poem:

    In natural amber
    sisters for fate said …
    ancient nation
    joyrider Phaeton
    on chariot
    … away

    I used Jewels: A Secret History (called Buried Treasure in the UK) by Victoria Finlay. Pretty evocative words for a nonfiction book about gemstones. I feel like I should do better with such great words but want to get back to reading instead. 🙂

  13. I’m using “White Hot” by Sandra Brown and the number 5. And these are my words: poured, his, time, step, over, steel, feet, daddy, you, your, of, another, into, ’cause

    I’m deleting daddy and ’cause and adding one and them.

    And this is my poem:
    Your over one of them
    Poured into another time
    You step his steel feet

  14. The book I chose is “Faitheist” by Chris Stedman

    Number: 7

    Words: I, religious, subzero, years, of, Even, on, recognized, high, the, a, perception,time, and

    Word changed: I to on, the to feelings

    Recognized years of
    subzero high of religious
    feelings, Even on a perception
    and time

  15. Pingback: Bout of Books 9.0 – Thursday Challenge | Books For Thought

    • Hi Michelle,

      This is so great! I love the repetition (epistrophe) of the word half. Tossing the desk about is nice because it could be literal or metaphorical. Very evocative. Thanks!

  16. Hi! My number was 5 and I used For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund.

    My 14 words are: Evening, new, walls, place, Gill, these, carriage, sides, side, share, our, hissed, as, have

    I exchanged Gill for bored and side for bottom

    Evening walls hissed–
    These carriage sides,
    As new place share–
    Our bored bottom have.

    This was difficult and tried as I might I couldn’t get my poem to make sense completely. This was a fun challenge though, thank you for hosting it 🙂

    • Hi Tiffany,

      What fun! I liked the personification of the evening walls hissed–onomatopoeia, too! The bored bottom made me laugh. Thank you!

  17. I used The Picture of Dorian Gray and the #9! I swapped “these” & “lodging” for “said” & “contraire”!

    He would write,
    becoming more by worship
    of elocution
    Au contraire,
    said the lady.

  18. I am currently reading Divergent by Veronica Roth

    Number chosen: 8 Words: Christina, the, letting, together, she, do, covered, grunt, video, sure, me, founded, muttering, of

    Delete and add two words: deleting- covered and video; adding- she’s and whatever

    3. Christina, she founded me,
    She’s sure of letting,
    Together the muttering, grunt(s),
    “Do whatever”

    • Hi Tanya,

      This one is fun! I get a real sense of the character you’ve built here. “Do whatever” is so voice-y. Thanks for participating!

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    • Hi Christina,

      You’ve worked these words so well! Love the impossible armor and how it circles and wired her. What was your book?

  21. The book I chose was broken symmetry by dan rix
    1. leaving 2. of 3. rock 4. legs 5. on 6. my 7. couldn’t-delete- add: love 8. his 9. pretty 10. be 11. southern 12. top 13. corrected 14. we’ll-delete- add: alone

    My love of leaving
    Rock his legs on top
    Southern Pretty
    Corrected alone

    • Hi Tayla,

      Your poem is very fun. I like how the love of leaving in the beginning (great alliteration, by the way) is picked up in the end with alone. Thanks for joining the challenge!

  22. I chose I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak, my first completed read during Bout of Books.

    My number was 8.

    My fourteen words were: and, laughter, I, spades, lips, stay, tasting, faster, crowd, why, doors, interrupted, regret, the.

    I changed “the” to “close,” and “spades” to “move.”

    Interrupted lips,
    I stay –
    tasting laughter and
    Crowds move faster,
    doors close.

  23. Pingback: Bout of Books 9.0 | The Writerly Reader

  24. I went non-fiction to see if it would work. From Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age, I ended up with:

    In his struggling jump
    I, like the magnet Atlantic
    He, a construction of thunder

    Neat challenge. Thank you for hosting!

  25. My number is five, and I’m plucking words from my book, Beta.
    I think it will sound a bit sci-fi, depressing, and a little monotonous.
    Well, um, HERE YOU GO! 😀

    My words: first, awoke, no, know, concept, mother, typical, of, my, her, she, observing, blurry, awakening

    I cut out ‘she’ and ‘awakening’, replacing them with ‘her’ and ‘someone.’


    First awoke, no mother.
    Observing my blurry concept–
    Typical of her.

    Someone knows my mother.
    My blurry awakening–
    No concept, observing.

    A pair of haikus! 🙂

    • Hi An,

      Definitely not monotonous. You use repetition to good effect. “Typical of her” echoes “first awoke, no mother” to develop your thoughtful mood. Thanks for posting!

  26. Pingback: Bout of Books Read-A-Thon 9.0 – Challenges | Jazmin Jade Reviews

    • Hi Jazmin,

      I love this. The short phrasing and final line sort of remind me of Sandra Cisneros. Have you read her? Thanks for participating.

  27. I picked “Allegiant” by Veronica Roth.

    My number is 3.

    My 14 words are: up, you, that, start, it, play, David, the, and, own, one, my, person, there’s.

    Change “and” to “bird”, and “the” to “aware”.

    There’s a person who owns a bird
    You start to play with it
    Aware that my one and only
    Is up there – at David’s choir

    Well that was fun hehehehe my poem turned out to be a little bit senseless and tragic – BUT STILL – FUN FUN FUN !!!

    • Hi Marta,

      Not senseless, but definitely tragic! You worked your words together so well. Sad, sad bird…I’m so glad you had fun.

  28. Ahhh. I was always bad a poetry. But this challenge was fun!! I don’t even know if it makes sense to other people. But reading this book, I think it came out pretty perfect.

    I used “Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour” by Morgan Matson
    I used #5.
    My words were: tell, thinking, said, we’d, of, again, into, Quiet, Stars, that, for, was, really, us

    Replaced: “tell” with “staring” and “said” with “sat”

    My found poem:

    Staring again into Stars,
    We’d sat thinking of Quiet,
    for that was really us.

    • Hi Adri,

      This is fantastic! I don’t know the book, but I can really get a sense of it from your poem. The capitalized words work well also. I love the way Staring and Stars work together. Thank you!

  29. I picked Angelfall, which was a recent read for the Bout of Books. I flipped to a random page, page 206, and my number was 9.
    Here are my words:
    watching, I, for, elevator, strewn, disease, for, to, could, stop, of, then, almost, his
    I’ll take out strewn and disease and replace them with hope and memories

    Watching, I, for elevator
    Then, almost could to,
    For his hope, of memories

    This was really interesting, I hope it turned out alright. It was fun to read everyone else’s!

  30. Here’s mine, I used Inferno by Dan Brown and chose the number 3

    He turned his face.
    The glowing sea of copper.
    Traveling down the strange, deadly countryside.

  31. Very fun and creative challenge.

    Book Title: The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

    Words: she, have, all, he, curb, man, hand, as, black, his, perfect, room, making, and

    Word Swap: curb–>hold making–>my


    Black room

    perfect as she

    Hold my hand

    have all man…

    he and his

    • Hi Louisa,

      Your switch-out is good: Hold my hand is infinitely better than curb my hand. Ha! The ending he and his juxtaposed with the earlier she is pretty cool. Thanks for joining in!

  32. I used Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson and used #3.
    Words: sprinkling towards happiness been in these frozen table is said by wail while to
    Replaced: table with days, to with dazed

    Been in these frozen days
    Sprinkling towards happiness
    Is said by wail while dazed

    • Nice, Melissa! I like the play you did with days and dazed. Sprinkling towards happiness is such a cool metaphor. Did you like Behind the Scenes at the Museum?

        • Hi Melissa,

          Yes, one of the things I admire about Atkinson is her ability to weave the past into the present story. Each time you come around the circle, you have a bit more of the intricate puzzle filled in. Another of her novels that does this so well is When Will There Be Good News? Have you read that one? It’s part mystery, part family tale. Very smart and rich. It’s probably my favorite of hers.

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  34. Book: The Madman’s Daughter
    Number: 17
    Words: Chest, irrationally, was, like, you, me, hands, softness, rode, tonight, doorway, so, reaching, this
    Changed “chest” to “your” and “rode” to “in”.

    In this doorway tonight
    You… your hands, softness reaching
    so like me,

  35. Pingback: Bout of Books 9.0 – Day Four | Cheap Thrills

  36. Uncomfortable Darkness
    Took car
    New Idea
    Really wishing, hoping
    Might jump
    Next night

    Book: Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

    • Hi Reading All Night,

      This really works as a narrative poem. I’m so glad the narrator is saved! The ending “Next night” is provocative as the reader doesn’t know if it will be a return of the angst or the saving to come the next night. Thanks!

  37. Hi! This is so fun!
    I picked the number 7.
    I used the book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
    My 14 words are: being, eyes, was, if, true, any, home, only, no, clouds, put, meeting, nodded, young.
    I took out put and was
    I replaced them with peculiar and truth
    Here’s my poem!
    Young being nodded
    Peculiar eyes meeting
    No true home, only clouds
    If any truth

    That was HARD!

    • Hi Rikki,

      Your poem is so fun! I think my favorite line is “No true home, only clouds” because you can interpret that in such different ways. I always like words or phrases with multiple meanings. Good job!

  38. I chose my current read, xxxHOLiC: AnotherHOLiC by NisiOisiN. I actually used the number 7 also. My words were: closer, you, but, in, your, much, could, from, why, apparently, meaningful, self-destructive, everything, & is.

    I changed “from” to “We” and I changed “your” to “be.”

    Here is my poem:

    We could be much closer…
    But why?
    Apparently everything meaningful in you is self-destructive.

    • Hi Kimberly,

      Great poem! It’s amazing how all the words work together to make complete sentences. The last line really delivers a punch. Thank you!

  39. Pingback: Bout of Books 9.0 (1/6-1/12) – Goals | Addled By Books

  40. I used The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand. My number was 8. My words were: was, clean, order, reason, trance, the, of, gone, records, report, like, was, their, found. Replaces a was and records with a and getaway.

    Their order was gone;
    Like a trance – the reason found
    Report of clean getaway

    Loved this challenge!

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  43. I used A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. My number was 4 and my words were: royal, convene, command, to, thousand (replaced for treasury), costs, expense, will, debt, had (replaced for mad), shrug, shook, loathes, said.

    Here’s my found poem:

    To convene treasury costs,
    Will mad debt loathes.
    Shrug royal command,
    Shook said expense.

    • This one is so fun! I enjoyed the way you could work treasury costs with debt and royal command and said expense. I also loathe mad debt! Thanks for sharing your poem.

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