Five Government Control Books Turned Found Poetry

Amanda McCarthy


Found poetry has been saturating the poetry world, from blackout poems to republishing snippets of sex offender law cases. Found poetry is crafted out of any work by rearranging, omitting, or just spacing out a text. In honor of the film adaptation of Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer’s release last week, here are five government control books turned into found poetry.

1984, George Orwell:

“It was terribly dangerous to let your

thoughts         wander when you

were in any public

place or within           range of

a telescreen. The smallest

thing could give you away. A nervous


tic, an unconscious    look of

anxiety, a habit of

muttering to yourself – anything that         carried

with it the suggestion


of abnormality, of having

something                  to hide.”


Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood:

“Men can imagine their own

deaths, they can see

them coming, and the           mere thought of

impending death       acts like an

aphrodisiac. A


dog or rabbit doesn’t behave

like that. Take birds — in a lean

season they cut down on the eggs, or they won’t

mate at all. They put their energy into

staying            alive                themselves until

times get better. But


human beings hope               they can stick

their souls into someone else, some

new version of

themselves, and live

on forever.”


Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury:  

“Nobody listens anymore. I can’t

talk to the

walls because they’re            yelling

at me, I can’t talk to

my wife; she listens to

the walls. I just want

someone to hear what I

have to say. And maybe if I talk long

enough it’ll

make sense.”


Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut:

“There are almost no

characters in this

story, and

almost no dramatic

confrontations, because most

of the people in it are so

sick and so much

the listless                  playthings

of enormous forces.”


Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer

“At the time, I was seeking

oblivion, and I sought in those

blank, anonymous faces, even the

most                painfully         familiar, a kind

of benign escape. A death

that would not mean


being dead.”


“[W]hen you see

beauty in

desolation it

changes something


you. Desolation tries

to                                             colonize



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