Found Poetry

In one of my most favorite classes I have ever taken, Environmental Literature, my teacher introduced me to the idea of “Found Poetry.” The idea of Found Poetry is to take quotes and phrases from a piece of prose and turn it into a poem. So, I wrote a poem found in A Discourse on Inequality that aligns on some fronts with Rousseau’s ideology and romantic nature. It reflects my favorite part of A Discourse on Inequality that I wish Rousseau had elaborated more on…


Rousseau – A Discourse on Inequality:

Found Poetry


Nature- Value Self


Our ills are of our own making,

Strengthen the power which Subdues –

sociable and a slave, he grows feeble.

His imagination paints no pictures;

his heart yearns for nothing.

Makes man in the end a tyrant over Himself –

man will not be born a man. Neither

foresight nor curiosity,

They speak of savage man,

they depict civilized man –

wear chains for the sake of imposing chains.

Once a people is accustomed

to Masters, it is no longer in a condition

to do without – not obliged to make

a Man a philosopher before we can make him

a Man.

But let us return to their foundation –

in Nature which Never lies.

Understanding owes much to the passions.

If we do not first have knowledge

of men themselves,

render ourselves incapable of knowing

Him. I would

have sought as my own country,

less fortunate or wise too late:

happy and peaceful commonwealth

of which the history was lost so to speak,

in the darkness of time. I would

have wished to Live and die free, that is to say,

subject to Law in such a way.

Such, Magnificent and Most Honoured Lords,

are the citizens – make your happiness endure

by the wisdom of using it well.

Wish not to live in a republic

newly founded, more dangerous

than the actions they report – exhibit

some love for the earthly city. What is more, this precious liberty

separate the original from that which is artificiality.

The activity of self-love contributes,

to the mutual preservation of the whole species.

It will be easy for others

to go down further the same path

– only after clearing away sand and dust,

where love is never seasonal,

for there is in freedom:

clash of passion, cry of nature.

Where there is no love, what would be the use of

beauty? Presages and guarantees

or a sincere and permanent reconciliation. No

Greater Felicity for Himself

than that of seeing You all happy.


-Jordan Fitzgerald



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3 Responses to Found Poetry

  1. kathleen gigliuk

    Interesting concept. I had never heard of Found Poetry before and personnally think its an exteremly intersting and quick way to sum up the ideas encapulated in a novel. As I have previously vocalized, I am a fan of summaries as I find long winded texts, especially Greek philosphy, only mildly bearable.
    I would love to know where (or from who) you first discovered (or were told of) Found Poerty.

  2. zoha janjua

    I like the idea of Found Poetry. I find poetry comparatively easier to read than long narratives. Personally I think that it is easier to comprehend the hidden meaning in poetry than in narrative texts.

  3. Jovolynn Gragasin

    I enjoyed this poem very much. I’ve never heard of this type of poem before. It’s very intriguing! I think that this is an excellent way to summarize things considering I for one, dislike reading long texts… Especially if it’s Greek philosophy. It’s difficult for me to grasp all the concepts.

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