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A Work In Progress - Altered Books and Found Poetry

Updated on July 12, 2010

Some Altered Book Pages and Found Poetry

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New handmade altered book made from card stock and decorated with silk flowers. "Faith" quick self portrait"The patient woman"Original poetry in altered bookFound poetry in altered bookFound poetry.More found poetry
New handmade altered book made from card stock and decorated with silk flowers.
New handmade altered book made from card stock and decorated with silk flowers.
"Faith" quick self portrait
"Faith" quick self portrait
"The patient woman"
"The patient woman"
Original poetry in altered book
Original poetry in altered book
Found poetry in altered book
Found poetry in altered book
Found poetry.
Found poetry.
More found poetry
More found poetry

Altered Books and Found Poetry

If you have never heard of "found poetry", maybe I can educate you a bit. "Found poetry" is made up of pre-printed words and text in a book, chosen for their descriptive value, as well as the rhythm and flow of how they fit together. They are usually descriptive and may go something like "The girl, blonde, shy, gone". The way found poetry is "written" is by using the text of a book that is already printed. You find the words on the page that you want to go together, and then paint over or mark out the rest of the words, leaving only the circled text you chose for your found poetry.

Then, after choosing your poem, you can collage or paint a picture if you choose, on the facing page of the book, to go with your poem. Sounds a bit confusing, I know, but the main thing to remember about altered books and this mixed media form of art is, there are no rules! Anything goes, and you can use any medium, from markers and pens, to paints of all types.If you look at some of the pictures I have included, you will see a couple of pages of found poetry, with the rest of the words covered with a red color.

Some people, myself included, will also turn the book into a type of scrapbook, putting personal photos, as well as other mementos in the book with glue or photo corners, and then journaling about the photo on the facing page, or under the photo. This is one of the best ways to recycle an old book that you might throw away otherwise.

There are many articles on the internet that explain the basics of this alternative art form which has gained hugely in popularity, but the main thing to remember is that whatever you can think of is fine! There are NO rules, guidelines, etc., it is a true free-form art form, and extremely enjoyable for people like me who enjoy mixed media art. Art journals are also a wonderful form of therapy, especially so because of the "no rules" attitudes. I can work on my book for hours, and time just seems to fly by-plus I always feel better after working on it. It is like a type of therapy for many.

Pass the Book!

If you decide to make yourself an altered book, first you need to find an old book you no longer want to read, and make sure it has a sewn spine binding. That way the book will hold up while you are stuffing it full of goodies! My first book (I have 4 I am doing...) is only half done, and it already won't close all the way! Most altered books end up this way, because the artist crams them so full of photos, papers, scrapbook items and whatever else suits them!

You can decorate every page, or glue together amounts of pages and then decorate each separate bundle of pages. It literally makes no difference whatsoever. It is your book and you can make it like you want! Be sure to add some found poetry to it, if you choose! Often several artists will get in contact with each other, and do a "round robin" altered book, where each artist does a page or two, then mails the book to the next one on the list. These are collaborative works and are hugely popular right now with the artists in this medium.

I would suggest trying this alternative art form to anyone who likes to scrapbook, create art, or just have a new hobby. The fact that you cannot mess it up, there are no real rules, and the vast array of different techniques and styles you can go with give a person a wonderful sense of freedom and satisfaction as you work on and finish your book project. The main thing is to ENJOY the process!

Altered Book Projects and Guides

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    • kartika damon profile image

      kartika damon 

      6 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

      Yes! I love both art journaling and incorporating found poetry - nice hub - I enjoyed your journal in progress as well! Thank you!

    • whitneywpanetta profile image

      whitneywpanetta 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Great hub! I recently started one about altered books as well, and I love how yours is set up, it gave me some great ideas!

    • Laura Thykeson profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Thykeson 

      8 years ago from Central Texas

      heart4theword,

      Glad you enjoyed the hub. Found poetry is a fun thing to add to your project, especially an altered book, where you are cutting some pages of the book out anyway. That way you can use some of the discarded pages for the found poetry words printed on them. Thanks for reading!

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 

      8 years ago from hub

      I like the idea, as you put it, in using altered poetry for the use of scrapbooking or art:) I see what your saying about picking out bits and pieces that just speak to you, and implimenting them in your project. To actually alter people's peom's, this ones hard from me, like taking an artisit original, and making into something it's not? As an Artist or a Writer, isn't that 1/2 the challenge is to come up with your own original ideas:) Informational Hub! Thank you:)

    • Laura Thykeson profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Thykeson 

      8 years ago from Central Texas

      Hello, hello:

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      That is a lovely idea. Thank you.

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