Writing Tip: Found Object Poetry

When I was in the theater, I ran across a unit for creating characters by taking found objects and listing characteristics of the object to build aspects of your character. For example:


This fern might be characterized as

  1. vulnerable
  2. delicate
  3. circular
  4. green
  5. united

Taking those characterizations, one might get a picture of an innocent young girl without a lot of experience encircled by family. Or a twisted creature with an envious streak but not much physical strength. Quite different results from the same words.

Then, when I was teaching English, I had a folder called “Thousand Word Pictures” collected to use as prompts for getting kids to write stories. Greeting card pictures, postcards, magazine photos, and such.

For example, each of these could be used as a writing prompt:


When I was looking for ideas to use in a poetry workshop, I realized that all of these things could be combined to write poetry.

“Found Object” poetry is poetry where you take a random object or image, list some impressions of that prompt, and then use those impressions to write a poem.

Here is an example of a “found object” poem from start to finish.

The prompt:


The impressions:

  1. age
  2. celebration
  3. sepia
  4. dress
  5. wreath


The poem:

The Wedding Dress

Memories fade
as fabric yellows…
The bright laughter
and high hopes
symbolized in lace
and flowers
fallen into sepia
as time softens
the edges
and brings
an end to dreams.


When you are stuck for something to write about, this technique can get the wheels turning again. It’s a lot of fun–especially as a group exercise, for a writers group, perhaps.

Here’s a set of objects to play with. Give the concept a try. If anyone does come up with a poem, please share it in the comments. 🙂


About RieSheridanRose

Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers Vols. 1 and 2,  and Killing It Softly. She has authored twelve novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. She tweets as @RieSheridanRose.
This entry was posted in Poetry, Writing Sample, writing tips and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Writing Tip: Found Object Poetry

  1. PoojaG says:

    This is such a great idea for when you have writers block or are running out of ideas. Really enjoyed the poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Writing Tip: Found Object Poetry — Rie Sheridan Rose | POETRY FESTIVAL. Submit to site for FREE. Submit for actor performance. Submit poem to be made into film.

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