Crossing the lines: poetry and collage

There’s a place where art, word and image live together: it’s called “found poetry”.

According to our beloved Wikipedia, “Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning.

Found poetry can be performed both “physically” and digitally, no matter the sources. For instance, the digital version can be done by scanning old public domain books pages. Then, with different photo editing software different effects can be applied. It can be comic, ironic, sad, whatever the author would like to express through different ways: Dadaists’cut-up technique, découpé, blackout poetry and – sometimes – collage. 

Here’s a list of artists we recommend to take a look at – we also included a link to Amazon, who knows you may be inspired and buy one! Do you crave more found poetry? On the most loved digital Santa, you can find some books to help you create your own found poetry on your own.


According to Goodreads: “selectively painting over much of a forgotten nineteenth-century book, Ruefle’s publication brings new meaning to an old story. What remains visible is delicate poetry: artfully rendered, haunted by its former self, yet completely new. A high-quality replica of the original aged, delicate book in which Ruefle “erased” the text, this book will appeal to fans of poetry as well as visual art.”


The Cantos is generally considered one of the most significant works of modernist poetry in the 20th century. The most striking feature of the text is the inclusion of Chinese characters as well as quotations in European languages other than English, and includes letters written by presidents and popes, as well as an array of official documents from governments and banks.


Radi Os revises the first four books of Milton’s Paradise Lost by excising words, discovering a modern and visionary poem within the seventeenth-century text. With God and Satan crossed out, Radi Os reduces Milton’s Baroque poem to elemental forces. 


A Wonderful Catastrophe is a book of erasure poems by Colette Love Hilliard. Featuring black and white found poetry accompanied by art that tells a complete visual, poetic story. The process of erasure involves “blacking out” certain lines, words, and sections of a text to create new meaning. This book tackles many difficult issues, and does so artfully and elegantly.


Every single detail can be poetry; that’s the philosophy behind blackout and found poetry. However, Sarah Wheeler wants to make everything gold – as “what light I’ve found” is her bio on Instagram.


Paula Boon lets words and images find her and then combines them into found word art. Her poems are taken from cast-off books, paired with natural ephemera for layers of beauty and meaning.



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