Finding Poetry in Prose

Fred SaberhagenMost of my posts for Amazing Stories are about writing, or indie publishing, or things to do with the business side of the industry. But today I wanted to do something a bit different. I’m in school, taking two literature classes this semester, and in the good class (yes, there is also a bad class) we learned about making ‘found poetry’ a process that I really enjoyed. I came home, looked at my shelves full of eclectic books, and said “hm… I wonder what I could do with some classic SF.” So here you are. The words and phrases from each book were selected in order, I know some found poetry allows for rearrangement but it’s less of a challenge.

The Golden People

Fred Saberhagen

We’re at the top

He flickered away

one good hand

What do you think it means

to be human?

giant child, demanding attention

only animals

The aura of her mind

fine perfume.


The Witches of Karres

James H. Schmitz

Just plain fate

a helpless kid, anyway

two little sisters

Mass history

stood the three witches

silent voraciousness

The junior witches nodded

behave yourself every second

more or less like normal children.


The Moon is a Harsh Mistress 

Robert A. Heinlein

Fair dinkum thinkum

And woke up.

vips in huhu

solid, lovely structure

your air bottle, not mine.

we can throw rocks at Terra

interesting philosophy

fragile sack of protoplasm

we waited busily.

the prudent course.

Then he did die.

James Schmitz

So now here is my challenge to you: create some found poetry of your own. I discovered that by doing this I made myself look very closely at the word choices used in these books. I read very quickly, and as a result, am much more likely to feel the characters, see the worlds, and be drawn on by the action, missing the language as it sublimates to my imagination. I don’t think that will ever change, but it is a good exercise for me to look more closely at the bones of a story from time to time.  Perhaps it will make me a better writer.

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