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Featured Online Found Poetry and Writing Craft Class

Katherine McCord

FOUND POETRY: Erasure, Blackout, Cento, Cut-Up, Free Form and Craft Elements (Concreteness, Tone, Lineation, and Dramatic Shape) with Katherine McCord

START DATE: This class is currently closed.


DURATION:  6 weeks

COURSE DESCRIPTION: We will explore Found Poetry. No matter what kind of writing you pursue—fiction, poetry, blogging, etc., Found Poetry, an art like all other writing, can give you new insights into your preferred genre, or it can become a focus in your life. There are all kinds of venues to publish it in—online journals, offline journals, books focusing on Found Poetry, anthologies for Found Poetry and more. In Found Poetry, you take pieces of prose and/or poetry from other works or everyday things, like signs, newspaper adds, lists and/or conversations you overhear and make them something else, make them new, make them art. Visual art can play in, but it certainly doesn’t have to; the successful Found Poem can go either way! There are many kinds of Found Poems we will explore, and you will complete—Cut Up, Erasure, Blackout, Cento and on—while I invite you to learn about elements of craft—Dramatic Shape, Lineation, Tone, and Concreteness—that will inform your Found Poems and make them successful.


[Katherine McCord] is a remarkable poet whose work is certain and hesitant at once, compressed and expansive. She wants silence to speak as carefully as her words. She sees poetry in the purest sense, working toward pieces where important things aren’t merely described or reported but transformed. Katherine McCord is an artist, through and through, taking aspects of ordinary life and finding fear and wonder in them. ~ Marianne Boruch

A word journey mapped by a brilliant mind, the tour guide a masterful creative soul, Run Scream Unbury Save is propelling, intense, intuitive, transcending, gripping in its insights and inspiring in its caged bird sings. ~ Dianne Lancaster

The binding material here is a voice that flutters like a bird-heart, hurtling the gaze of the reader through the sky and dropping all pretense of packaged experience, opting instead for revelatory and intimate association. ~ Sonya Huber

The pared inscription, as well as the delicacy and discretion, of Katherine McCord’s debut collection, Island, are always deeply compelling and often breathtaking. The honorable simplicity of this work rewards us time and time again with both wisdom and delight. Quietly elegant, and as intimate as a whisper, this is a book to hold close in the silence of night. ~ David St. John


Week One: Concreteness; Erasure Found Poem

Concreteness entails the “show don’t tell” aspect of your piece. This week we’ll discuss Concreteness as a craft element and the possibilities of “weighting” your piece through imagery and abstraction.

Assignment: Complete an Erasure Found Poem—a poem where a writer erases background from a text leaving words that create a poem. You will email the Found Poem (or a picture of your Found Poem) to your instructor and comment on your peers’ poems as assigned.

Week Two: Tone; Blackout Found Poem

Tone is either the attitude of the speaker throughout the poem or the mood of the piece if a speaker isn’t felt. This week we will discuss Tone as a craft element and the way you can express it through figurative language.

Assignment: Complete a Blackout Found Poem—a poem where a writer “blacks out” all the words in a text but the words that the writer decides creates a poem. You will email a Blackout Found Poem to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers’ Blackout Found Poems as assigned.

Week Three: Lineation; Cento Found Poem

Lineation is the way a writer breaks the lines in a poem. Lineation can be decided by endstops, breath, enjambment or the landscape of the line, for example. This week we will discuss Lineation as a craft element.

Assignment: Complete a Cento Found Poem—a poem made of phrases, and/or word groups, etc., from other texts, all to create a Cento. You will email a Cento to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers' poems as assigned.

Week Four: Dramatic Shape; Cut-Up Found Poem

Dramatic Shape, the first part, takes up a “kind” of poem, such as Free Verse and, specifically, the lyric poem, which, for example, can emphasize a concentrated expression. This week we will discuss the first part of Dramatic Shape as a craft element.

Assignment: Complete a Cut-up Found Poem—a poem made up of phrases, words, etc., literally cut out or torn from another text and laid out to make a poem. You will email your Cut-up Found Poem to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers’ Cut-up Found Poems as assigned.

Week Five: Dramatic Shape II; Revision

Dramatic Shape, the second part, takes up another kind of Free Verse, the narrative, which, for example, tells a story. This week we will discuss the second part of Dramatic Shape as a craft element.

Assignment: Complete a Revision of a previous Found Poem you’ve created. You will email this revision to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers’ revisions as assigned.

Week Six: Dramatic Shape III; Free Form Found Poem

Dramatic Shape, the third part, takes up Form, for example, a traditional form such as a sonnet. This week we will discuss the third part of Dramatic Shape, Form, as an element of craft.

Assignment: Complete a Free Form Found Poem—a Found Poem whereby you take any, all, or a combination of the techniques of a kind of Found Poetry to create one Found Poem. You will email your Free Form Found Poem to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers’ Free Form Found Poems as assigned.

Materials needed: Antique books (as students see fit and most are only a few dollars), books, any kind of writing from any genre, and these are just the physical things you may never choose to use—there is so much writing to pull from, such as a series of signs or words you overhear in a conversation and jot down. Access to the Internet, email, and a camera or smartphone for taking photos.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Katherine McCord has two books of poetry—Island and Living Room (prose poems)—a lyric essay memoir, My CIA; a poetry chapbook, Muse Annie; and a literary memoir, Run Scream Unbury Save, that was winner of the Autumn House Open Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. She has published widely in literary journals, such as American Poetry Review. Katherine has an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Creative Writing. In 2011 and 2014, she won Maryland Individual Artist Awards (state grants in creative writing in poetry) and has won other awards or placed as a finalist, such as for the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize. You can find out more about her on

COST:  $175, which includes weekly assignments and individual feedback from the instructor.

BUY NOW: FOUND POETRY with Katherine McCord (6 weeks, starting 3/25/2019) Limit: 12 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check out our current schedule here.

For Class Session Starting 3/25/2019


Notes:  Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. Just before class begins, she will e-mail you with instructions on how to get started.

Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:

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