Found poetry is the rearrangment of words or phrases taken randomly from other sources (example: clipped newspaper headlines, bits of advertising copy, handwritten cards pulled from a hat) in a manner that gives the rearranged words a completely new meaning.

A classic example was found in a physics text:

"And yet no force, however great,
can stretch a cord, however fine,
into a horizontal line
that shall be absolutely straight.

In order to do this, it requires the poet to draw upon not only mental creativity but his or her own unconscious attitude regarding the nature of language. Structurally, it is similar to the process of creating a visual collage composition. Stylistically, it is similar to the visual art of "appropriation" in which two- and three-dimensional art is created from recycled items, giving ordinary/commercial things new meaning when put within a new context in unexpected combinations or juxtapositions. Appropriation art often plays upon a double-edged meaning, wherein the object's new artistic meaning makes a political or philosophical comment on its original purpose, and the same can be said for the way 'found poetry' can contain clever wordplay or evoke ironic contradictions in the way we use language.