Creating Found Poetry using a Death and Dying sociology textbook

Found Poetry: Death and Dying Textbook

If you haven’t heard of found poetry, strap in. We’re going to go over two different kinds.

  1. You take a book page and draw/color over as many words as you want, leaving only your poem uncovered.
  2. You take said book page and cut up the pieces, re-arranging lines in any way you like.

Obviously, these aren’t the only two ways to create found poems. There is infinite potential. These are just the two I’m going to be messing with today with my former Sociology textbook: Death & Dying.

Creating found poetry is one of my absolute favorite things to do. Not necessarily for the output; the final product isn’t the most important part for me. It’s the process, and the way it really gets the creativity flowing. It’s hard in a very different way than other poetry, in that the possibilities are still endless, but you have restrictions and limitations.

Possibly my favorite thing is that you could give the same starting material to a hundred people, and no two would come out with the same final product.

Why a textbook? Why such dark subject matter? Because I fucking like it, that’s why. Let’s get morbid in this beezy.


Poem One

So, I opened the book at random and came to a half page about death and spirituality. The poem ended up nothing like I thought! Not morbid. Not about death at all, actually, but about life and how shitty it can be.

So here is what I started with:

And here is the final product:

The risk of mortality:

relationships influenced by social status.

A reflection of culture;

a consequence of modern individualist view;

a concern with norms and influence of the group.


Obviously, with found poetry, you will sometimes lack the punctuation you hope for. This is how I would write the poem out, were I actually writing it.

Not the most original message, but I love that on a page that said death and dying so many times, I ended up with something else jumping out at me.

Since I posted the original page, I would LOVE to see what you come up with! Post your found poems from this page in the comments (or send them to me).


Poem Two

I opened randomly to another page. This one I ripped out and cut line by line (while my beautiful baby, Buffy, stared at me).

I didn’t keep every one together in their lines; I cut them up to suit me. Occasionally, I would so badly want just one word and not find it, and I had to force myself to find another way to make it work. This really helps me grow and adapt. You can see what I came up with:

Let us consider

the implications of

a person’s world being shattered.



the impact of despair;

the pain of change.



individuals who appear to be coping


revision of their assumptive world.



the notion of ‘unfinished business.’



that individuals become lost in

tremendous pain.


There is no

defining characteristic

of mental illness.


Sociologists may refer to this as



This one is more what I expected from the subject matter of the text book! So fun.


Please share with me your thoughts or concerns or just comments!