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Mornings Like This: Found Poems

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  370 ratings  ·  36 reviews
In Mornings Like This, Annie Dillard extracts and rearranges sentences from old--and often odd--books, and composes ironic poems--some serious, some light--on the heartfelt themes of love, nature, nostalgia, and death. Clever, original, sometimes humorous, and often profound, this collection is sure to charm her fans, both old and new.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 26th 1996 by Harper Perennial (first published 1995)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  370 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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David Schaafsma
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of found poetry:

A pure found poem consists exclusively of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few additions or omissions. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet. -definition from

So you open any book, or a newspaper article, and find language you think is interesting, and “cut out” all the language that isn’t to you a poem, or you conversely take the words you like and make a po
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Pools in old woods, full of leaves.
Give me time enough in this place
And I will surely make a beautiful thing.
~from Mornings Like This — David Grayson, The Countryman’s Year, 1936

While I found the idea of found poetry intriguing this collection mostly felt disjointed to me. Perhaps not the best Annie Dillard for me to have started with to make her acquaintance.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I should know better. Even Annie Dillard cannot entice me to enjoy poetry, though her own rather than "found" poetry might have been more successful. I simply do not have the patience necessary to properly appreciate its emotive style.
Kevin Fanning
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
I guess I'm not sold on found poetry. Well, I'm totally sold on it as a worthwhile creative tool or activity that anyone and everyone can do or should try to do at some point. And maybe post the results to their blog. But as far as collecting them into a book and trying to sell it to people, and being like These Are My Found Poems!, I don't know. I mean I like that it exists, but. And this opens up a big angry dialog about whether some forms of poetry are more valid than others, and they're not, ...more
Brian Kohl
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poemetry
The novelty of the found poems (Dillard holds herself to a rigid standard in her composition) and the sheer breadth of her sources (from Vincent Van Gogh's letters to old medical tracts to Boys' Handbooks) make these poems interesting. As far as standing alone on poetic merits, the poems on painting were probably the strongest.

"The mind works in infinite spaces -- yet haphazardly, spreading." ~ Annie Dillard / Mikhail Prishvin

"I am trying to get at something utterly heartbroken." ~ Annie Dillar
Anne Barthel
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Blame this slim volume of Annie Dillard's, in which each poem is made up of repurposed lines from an offbeat out-of-print-er (an old collection of travel essays, a guide to the meaning of semaphore flags), for my own addiction to "finding" poetry. My favorite here: her uncannily cohesive, resonant "Index of First Lines."
Teri Peterson
Jul 04, 2011 rated it liked it
This isn't my favorite collection ever, but it is intriguing. Strangely, I think the title poem is probably my favorite in the book, which ends with the lines "Give me enough time in this place / And I will surely make a beautiful thing." love that.
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, poetry
These are found poems, compiled by Annie Dillard but not written by her. They are excerpts from prose translations, letters, instructions....with vivid language, reconstructed in poetry forms. She subtracted words but did not add any.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry, gave-up-on
these are, i have no doubt, good and great poems, i'm just not smart enough to understand them.
Tori Stuckey
I love Annie Dillard. This doesn’t dull my enthusiasm in the least, but this one wasn’t for me. I’ve only read her non-fiction previously, so this book of “found poems” was quite a departure. And, while I could still sense Annie in there, it didn’t hit me in the guts (with the exception of “An Acquaintance in the Heavens”) quite like her others. I still love you, Annie!
Miriam Johnson
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Pools in old woods, full of leaves.
Give me time enough in this place
And I will surely make a beautiful thing."
Jan 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: female-writer, poetry
I was excited when I picked up this book a couple years ago, so I posted my purchase to my blog. My friend Rebecca said that she liked the book, but thought it was cheating to take something very poetic (like Van Gogh's letters) and make them into poetry. I didn't really think about that at the time, but after reading this book, I can understand exactly what she is talking about.

I really like the idea of found poetry. I also like when a found poem is an unaltered piece of writing that a poet too
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, pittsburgh
Meh. Like others here, and for the same reasons, I'm not entirely sold on this collection. (And this is my first Annie Dillard book, but I plan to read her other work. Probably not my best choice to start with.)

Some of these poems felt like they were over my head. The meaning seemed vague. Maybe those are the ones that are "just jokes," as Ms. Dillard writes in her author's introduction.)

That said, there are some memorable lines and images in these poems.

"So much is wrong, but not my hills."
Lori Zavada
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the collection of poems. It was unusual (at least to me) because I've never read a book published by one author that were from "found" poems of others. Most of the poems were old - late 1800s to early 1900s - which made for slightly different language and outlooks than we are accustomed to today. For instance, the poets spoke about collecting butterflies or using coal for heat. A few favorites include: Emergencies (1989) one of the few more recent poems. At first I was hesitant thinkin ...more
The concept of "found" poetry is something I had never heard of - words, phrases or passages are taken from a non-poetry source and reframed as poetry by changing the spacing or lines. I'd never read this type of poetry before, so I can't compare Annie Dillard's found poetry to others, but my overall impression was that sometimes this works and other times it does not. Often I would find snippets that really seemed profound and poetic while the rest of the poem was hit or miss. Some felt forced. ...more
May 08, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I rarely read poetry, but when I enjoy it when I do because it makes me slow down. It makes me think about the deliberate use of language, about syntax and breath, and when it's done well, it also makes me think deeply about meaning. There are some gems to my liking in this slim volume:
- I am trying to get at something utterly heartbroken
- A Letter to Theo
- We already know you like baseball
- Index of first lines (my favorite)

On the whole, I think found poetry -- the repurposing of previously pub
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Annie Dillard's collection of found poems, created as she edited down books on nature, language, textbooks, Van Gogh's letters, even baseball statistics. The result is of varying quality (see quote below), but is always engaging and fun.

From the Author's Note: "This is editing at its extreme: writing without composing. Half the poems seek to serve poetry's oldest and most sincere aims with one of its newest and most ironic methods, to dig deep with a shallow tool. The other half are j
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Even though I'm a sucker for gimmicks (and I firmly place found poems in the category of gimmicks), found poems are often pretty hit or miss. However, in the hands of Annie Dillard, they are more than mere found poems; they are straight-up poems. This book represents the best of what found poetry can be: it uses the "finding" to challenge the boundaries of the poetic genre and guide readers toward seeing the "poetry" around us in everyday life, but it does so without sacrificing that which makes ...more
May 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I like some found poetry and I enjoyed reading this, although about halfway in the poems become redundant and it took me a while to finish. There were a couple of stickers-- Getting Started, Language for Everyone, and the first poem, Dash It-- that I read a couple of times and savored. But for the most part, it felt like listening to a friend intermittently pick out and read aloud to me the funnily written sentences and unintended double entendres from whatever book they were reading. Fun little ...more
Jul 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
I was so dissapointed in this book. These are not poems from Dillard which is what i was expecting. It is found poems and none of them moved me. Im shocked she would have published this but maybe someone else can find something i missed. I would never recommend this to anyone. This must be the harshest I have ever been on a book. I still love Annie Dillard! I just hope a new reader doesn't make this the first Dillard book to read, because they wouldn't pick up another one of her great works!
ds white
May 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Like many, including myself, the author has the habit of picking things off the street, out of garbage cans, in alleys and crosswalks, parks and airports. Most of it is what we call garbage and is the primary reason that someone through it away. But, on occasion, we find a gem, a treasure, a poem. Dillard pushes a collection of her found poems into a bed side page turner. Now if I could just get my collection of found receipts published!
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2014
So this is the first book of found poetry that I've really have ever read, and I've seen some mixed reviews for this book... but the truth is, I really enjoyed Mornings Like This. The words are clever, even if they aren't Dillard's own, and reading these poems stirred up my thoughts and killed some time at work. My recommendation: if you're interested in some good, sometimes nonsensical poetry, pick this up.
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Found poems from a diverse array of sources, from textbooks, to history, to the letters of Vincent Van Gogh, which I found particularly haunting.

There isn't a false note in the bunch, Dillard does an excellent job of arranging the prose of others just so. Not everyone appreciates the art of found poetry, but a read through this book just might change some minds.
May 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: those who like pop art, collage, and collect random bumper stickers
I'm not sure how I feel about the concept of "found poems". It feels a bit like...well, like cheating. That said, I liked a handfull of Dillard's poems but not enough for me to recommend the book overall. I think I'll stick to her prose.
Nov 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, poetry
This is the first poetry book I've ever finished and I did it all in one sitting. I feel ill-equipped to say anything about this other than I love Annie Dillard and I liked this book. Favorite poem was "Emergencies."
Jun 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
I've never thought of Dillard as a poet; this book doesn't do anything to dispell that thought. Other than the somewhat intriguing journey of reading antiquated language rearranged into a "poetic" form (like riding a one-trick pony, after all), I think these "found" poems would best be left lost.
Karlo Mikhail
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Writing without composition. Just finding the words and rearranging them appropriately. I must admit, for poems made of lines taken entirely from other texts these are really good!
Shannon Quay
Annie Dillard makes common things beautiful and that is a wonderful thing to do on this earth.
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
I like the premise of this book, but the poems didn't really captivate me.
Mornings Like This: Found Poems by Annie Dillard (1995)
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Annie Dillard (born April 30, 1945) is an American author, best known for her narrative prose in both fiction and non-fiction. She has published works of poetry, essays, prose, and literary criticism, as well as two novels and one memoir. Her 1974 work Pilgrim at Tinker Creek won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Dillard taught for 21 years in the English department of Wesleyan Unive ...more