Say What?: Found Language/Captured Talk Poems

Students were instructed to walk to the classroom bookshelf, grab a book, then trade with another student, or to walk around the room and listen to conversations, look at signage, read some Shakespeare and ‘capture’ language that struck them. Then they put the found language in an order that pleased them (not necessarily a poem).

LESSON NOTE: ‘Poetry is a body of unprecedented experiences, ‘ said poet Kevah Akbar, in a writers’ workshop I attended. Authors Jack Collom and Sheryl Noethe add that:  ‘Much of the fun [of this type of excercise] is the juxtapositions, which can be jagged or unexpected but can point to new meanings.’

Mr. Telles, 9th Grade
Period One

Found Language Poem
Rose R.

to choose my favorite books? like giving a kid $50 to go into a
terrific compactness of language
Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and all of Twain
Mother of Pain
She lost most of her teeth, her hair
She was a widow, a chameleon lady
Providing him, with literature, nourishment, and water
I loved them too, but only because it was better
than going outside

Found Language Poem
Max M.

Gods and Devils Hell and so forth
The Book Theif
They listened to Nazi footsteps

Mr. Telles, 9th Grade
Period Five

Found Language Poem
Tia H.

One way, one way
Remember the little shiver I felt then too
there was nothing between them that might
still, be
To keep obliged faith unfortified
takes a roundabout
take an alleyway
come together now

Found Language Poem
Lana G.

‘Comment tus appelle?’
‘Can I say?’
This was a test
and it failed
Why do the trees conceal,
Ever grazing through the bars
A pendant need not be a teacher
Into the network of eternal life
‘My hour is almost come
Good luck figuring which one.’

Found Language Poem
Brinley V.

I did love you once
I will not see it
Hatred has the part of Jesus this year
One way, luck
Puzzling or inexplainable
Es tiempo para amor
He came to me and there was nothing
Secrets of heaven and secrets between us
Tell me anything
It’s time for love



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.