‘The 100’ #31 – Altered Books, Part 2 – Discovered Poetry

Altered Book poetry is ‘discovered’ by eliminating unwanted text on a book’s page and emphasizing the text elements that will compose a poem. The creative elimination and emphasizing process varies from artist to artist. Here are some examples from my collection that I think work well, in imaginative approach, integration with visual elements and poetic form:  Click on images for larger version.

First, a page from the master of this form, British artist, Tom Phillips, from his famous altered book, A Humument. (see my post ‘The 100’ #9 for more details). Credit: humument.com

Next, a clever, neatly done conceptual poem by Will AshfordCredit to: neatloaf.blogspot.com

This is one of my own ‘discovered’ poems:

And this, a visually pleasing poem called “Drops Fall”. Credit to: beginningofajourney.wordpress.com

The next piece is a whimsical, minimalist poem from westofdodge88. Credit to: logolalia.com

And this is a grunge finished found poem by an ex student of mine, Justin. Thank you Justin, wherever you are now.

And finally, an altered book found poem by another famous and brilliant book artist, Brian Dettmer (see my post, ‘The 100′ #28 for more details). His poem is ‘discovered’ by detailed and careful cutting away of unwanted text.

‘The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.

7 thoughts on “‘The 100’ #31 – Altered Books, Part 2 – Discovered Poetry

  1. Thank you for this post. I work in a charity shop and am in charge of the books. I’ve been accumulating old books for sometime with the intention of doing “something with them”. Your post has pointed me in an interesting direction. I’ll let you know what I find along that route.


    1. You are welcome John. When I did Altered Books with my students I found them in charity shops – what joy searching through the shelves for just the right books. I also had an arrangement with the local library to take all of their abandoned books. If you do explore this idea I found that certain kinds of books worked better than others. Good finds were older, hard cover, soft paper books with dated but interesting illustrations – kids books, medical books and school texts etc. Let me know how it goes if you get into it…


    1. So, Robert you have me time-traveling by commenting on this post…going back to Altered Books and my early days of ‘The 100’ series which are now in the ’90s… and I’m soooo looking forward to the Century…It’s fascinating to me that Altered Books are always floating around my ‘Top Posts’ list…must be that many are exploring this concept. It IS a theme with endless variations and the masters of it, as shown here, blow the mind with possibilities. Thanks for bringing me back to old territory…


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