In a found poem, pre-existing text is reframed as poetry by adding line breaks, changing punctuation, and sometimes adding to, deleting, or rearranging the words of the original text.
The original text can come from any source — from novels and technical manuals to political speeches and sports commentary. Here is a brief example, found in William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White's The Elements of Style, a handbook for writers:
The writer must simply learn:
The contents of a book
The contents of a jar may be,
Depending on what's in the jar—
Jam or marbles.
The original text is part of an explanation on the importance of proper subject-verb agreement, but by taking this text out of context and altering it, this found poem has a different, more universal meaning. It speaks more to writing as a whole and to the value of books.