Tag Archives: found poetry

Oulipost #9: Headlines (Variation of Jean Queval’s “Cent Ons”)

(Dogs and cats and a moneymaking machine)

Spices are the mystery of life,
Saying thank you

Not another swig of that diet soda!
But why?

Secret Service stiffens drinking rules,
shakes up personnel:
Women see more benefits.

Gadgets for a good night’s sleep
Brain’s filter
lets eyes see
what isn’t there.

you take the leap
to speak.

A scientific solution ahead for conservative crowd?
Experts want paradigm shift on gauging risk

Not speaking of silliness …
No stars? Check. Still winning? Check.

(Procrastination wins the prize on ‘That’s Pathetic!’)

City Hall, back to you.



All headlines from the Chicago Tribune, 9 April 2014, by authors:
Judy Peres, John Kass, Vikki Ortiz, Carol D. Leonnig, Peter R. Orszag, Eric Zorn, Motoko Rich, Karsten Strauss, Kirsten Weir, Dana Stevens, Charles Wallace, David Haugh, Paul Sullivan, Meeri Kim, Peggy Wolff, Russ Parsons

The prompt:
Compose a poem whose body is sourced from article headlines in your newspaper.

Oulipost #8: Beautiful Inlaw (Beau Present)

A mere human

Hear a name:
a lean mean humane healer
Here, area men earn manual manure.
Menu: ham, real ale.

Learn, man!
Rule realm.



Byrne, Dennis. “Are women being denied equal pay? Or not?” Chicago Tribune. 8 April 2014: 15.

Channick, Robert. “New chief at WBEZ has plans for growth”. Chicago Tribune. 8 April 2014: 4.

Egan, Timothy. “Embracing the messiness of creativity”. Chicago Tribune, digitalPLUS magazine. 8 April 2014: 6.

Greenstein, Teddy. “On the 1st day…rain’s supreme: Forecast looks better for tournament days”. Chicago Tribune. 8 April 2014: Sports, 10.

Harford, Tim. “Nudge or Fudge? Behavioral economics has become one of the hottest ideas in public policy — but a backlash has begun”. Chicago Tribune, digitalPLUS magazine. 8 April 2014: 11.

Legal Notices. Chicago Tribune. 8 April 2014: Business, 9.

Seligson, Hannah. “Grief goes public: Digital natives in their 20s and 30s are using blogs, YouTube, and social media for communal mourning”. Chicago Tribune digitalPlus magazine. 8 April 2014: 3.

Smith, Mitch. “Taking a stand on concessions: Now a stadium staple, Wrigley was first in pro baseball line with permanent fan stops for food and drink”. Chicago Tribune. 8 April 2014: 7.

Wilson, Carl. “Was Dylan’s ’80s work second-rate? New tribute album argues the singer-songwriter’s material stands test of time”. Chicago Tribune. 8 April 2014: Arts + Entertainment, 3.

The prompt:
Select a name from one of your newspaper articles, famous or not. Compose a poem using only words that can be made from the letters in that person’s name. For example, if you selected “John Travolta,” you may only use words that can be made from the letters A, J, H, L, N, O, R, T and V.

The use of web-based tools is highly encouraged to help uncover different words that can be made from your letters of choice. One tool you might consider is the Scrabble Word Finder.

I chose the name of Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, from today’s Chicago Tribune, then used the Scrabble Word Finder to generate a list of words from the letters in his name.  Then I searched through today’s issue of the Trib to find words that were on the SWF list to use in this poem.  If the mayor ever reads this poem, I hope he likes it, or at least as a man of culture and an aficionado of the arts (he was a professional ballet dancer), he will appreciate its artistic merits, and will not send me a dead fish.

Oulipost #7: N+7

But what if such a cautionary serration is exactly what some teeth need? What if encouraging stultification to take a shout at the collision tractor despite very long odors of crossing its fjord linesman does them more harp than goodwill? What if our own hyper-credentialed lifestyle expletives and idlers are blinding us to alternative patriarchies to the midnight? Including some that might be a lot more viable for a great many young peptides? What if we should be following the leafhoppers of coupes like Germany, where “tracking” isn’t a dirty workday but a common-sense weakness to prepare teeth for respected, well-paid workload?.

But what if such a cautionary sermon is exactly what some temperatures need? What if encouraging subscriptions to take a sign at the comfort trail despite very long oil of cup its fist listing does them more headache than good? What if our own hyper-credentialed likelihood explosions and immigrations are blinding us to American pathways to the min cleaning? Including some that might be a lunch more viable for a great many young period? What if we should be following the lead of courts like Germany, where “tracking” isn’t a dirty world but a common-series weekend to prepare temperatures for respected, widow-paid work?

But what if such a cautionary serviette is exactly what some telephones need? What if encouraging stunts to take a shower at the colon trademark despite very long offender of crouch its firebrand lingo doglegs them more harpoon than good? What if our own hyper-credentialed lifetime expletives and idylls are blinding us to alumnus patricians to the midriff clavichord? Including some that might be a lounge more viable for a great many young perch? What if we should be font the lead of couples like Germany, where “tracking” isn’t a dirty workhouse but a common-sentry wean to prepare telephones for respected, well-paid work?

Petrilli, Michael J.  “College isn’t for everyone. And that’s OK.” Chicago Tribune, digitalPLUS magazine. 7 April 2014: 8.

The passage:
“But what if such a cautionary sermon is exactly what some teenagers need? What if encouraging students to take a shot at the college track despite very long odds of crossing its finish line does them more harm than good? What if our own hyper-credentialed life experiences and ideologies are blinding us to alternative pathways to the middle class? Including some that might be a lot more viable for a great many young people? What if we should be following the lead of countries like Germany, where “tracking” isn’t a dirty word but a common-sense way to prepare teenagers for respected, well-paid work?”

The prompt:
You’ll want a dictionary for this one! Select a passage from one of your newspaper articles. Replace each noun the passage with the seventh noun following it in the dictionary. A hard-copy dictionary will make the exercise more varied and fun; however, you can also use the online N+7 generator to create your text.

I: I used my dictionary, Houghton Mifflin’s American Heritage Desk Dictionary, which I won in a writing contest held by the Detroit Free Press in 1984.
II: I used the N+7 online generator, and selected the “small (3000 nouns)” dictionary.
III: I used the generator, this time selecting the “large (11,700 nouns)” dictionary.

spam spam spam

A few interesting comments appeared in my spam queue in response to some of my “poems” for Found Poetry Review’s Oulipost experiment:

“That is total bigotryy or rigged through the producers. Absolutely nothing else makes sense.”

“Not a chance elevates ended up being watched. Likewise, Any kind of a major piece the particular regression mountain of areas 1(Left behind greatest temporary person of polish lineage together with front inside orbital cortex) Signifies that a damaging relationship within WHtR as circulation at k FWE(Breast size 4 plus 5). In my shows that as self general enhance, Currently each of our circulation of blood within both temporary rod and as well prefrontal cortex reduction.”

Both are in response to my “warm-up” post, but they could also easily be responses to my “real” posts, or could easily be swapped out for my “real” posts themselves.

Oulipost #6: Blank Verse Amidst the Prose

He turns toward his wife, so she
can be reflective, you can be remorseful, you
let go of habits that no longer serve.

Indulge your curiosity, and try
to share the fact that he has no regrets,
sees nothing wrong with what he’s done. In fact,

I think we knew the story, too, which kind
officials subsequently traced — a small
device that uses kinetic energy.

They wondered whether surgery could fix
the odds of learning something that would save
this type of disconnect — a gap between.

I’m asking him to think about something,
or every single question asked of him:
a rubber ball to squeeze, but he kept dropping it.

His name, therefore, is thrown around often.
A ceremony of another kind.



Appleford, Steve. “Errol Morris pores over Rumsfeld’s words”. Chicago Tribune. 6 April 2014: Arts + Entertainment, 2.

Black, Nancy. Horoscopes. Chicago Tribune. 6 April 2014:  Arts + Entertainment, 9.

Bullington, Jonathan. “Dog has quite an unusual tale: Abandoned for over a month in vacant apartment, pooch survives — thrives”. Chicago Tribune. 6 April 2014: 9.

Cohen, Jodi S. “Slight of hands: Wael Farouk can’t make a fist or open a jar, but he’s mastered one of the toughest challenges for any pianist”. Chicago Tribune. 6 April 2014: 1.

Forina, Anastasia. “Northwestern students win $75K for device”. Chicago Tribune. 6 April 2014:  Business, 4.

Frink, Sarah. “Getting the good out of a not-so-good evaluation”. Chicago Tribune. 6 April 2014:  Business, 14.

McIntyre, Gina. “… and endangered men”. Chicago Tribune. 6 April 2014:  Arts + Entertainment, 1.

Noel, Josh.  “Way off the path: Charming, undeveloped Bimini a rarity even to Bahamians”. Chicago Tribune. 6 April 2014: Travel, 1.

Zorn, Eric. “Reusable bags may be dirty but they’re better than plastic”. Chicago Tribune. 6 April 2014: 16.

The prompt:  Compose a poem using unintentional lines of iambic pentameter found in your newspaper.

Oulipost #5: Tautogram

radioactive river!


(Rapid removal)


Reimburse regional remove,




Humans history.

Homo human has her human,
has half,
has — have — history.

Heretofore: history,
History: home.

Having her,
have hibernated hundreds,
has halfway,
have her–
her human history–
human history home.

Has hunting human,
(huge hinting)
Homo have harmony.



Sources (in order of appearance):
Hawthorne, Michael and Matthew Walberg. “$130M OK’d to clean up Chicago-area radioactive waste”. Chicago Tribune. 5 April 2014: 4.
Bentley, Chris. “A product of our own true nature:
‘The Sixth Extinction’ examines whether humans are causing the planet’s upheaval or are victims of their destiny”. Chicago Tribune. 5 April 2014: 13.

The prompt:
Compose a poem whose words — or at least the principal ones — all begin with the same letter. The words must be sourced from your newspaper.

Oulipost #4: Fibonacci (Variation)

Since April is

(I’ve grilled)


You minimalist. —




Last last week
in space,
the —


the —

most look for
how —


Folks who have accustomed
Side surprise
in approved —
approves —



Sources (in order of appearance): Kass, John. “It’s not your mother’s grilled cheese anymore”. Chicago Tribune. 4 April 2014: 2.

Schmich, Mary. “Ban won’t snarl dog owners: Options to remain after plastic bags become a scarcity”. Chicago Tribune. 4 April 2014: 3.

Dardick, Hal. “Plan kicks free Sundays to curb: Change to parking rules eyed on North, Northwest sides”. Chicago Tribune. 4 April 2014: 4.


The prompt:
In a Fibonacci sequence, each term is the sum of the two terms immediately preceding it; typically with 1 as the first term: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5,8, 13, 21, 34, 55 and so on.
Select an article from your newspaper and create a poem using the words that correspond with the numbers in the sequence. Your poem will take the form of first word, first word, second word, third word, fifth word, eighth word, thirteenth word, etc. You can continue until you’ve run out of words in your article or until you’re happy with the poem’s conclusion.


Oulipost #3: Definitional Lit

People in general sloped backward,
allowing to remain
(in the same condition)
a male —
to the exclusion of all others —
lodging in a house —
or building.

Human beings —
as distinguished from animals —
or other beings,
not specific
or definite,
inclined in the reverse (of the usual way),
permitting by neglect,
oversight (or the like)
to stay behind —
unchanged in character, condition.

The specific portion of space
normally occupied (by anything)
a restricting,
limiting (or modifying)

A staminate plant —
a keeping apart —
different in nature or kind.

The greatest possible being:  the remaining ones (of a number).

To be the property of
a temporary place to stay (one fourth of an hour),
a building for any purpose,
or constructed.

Sympathetic substances or natures,
(conspicuous, marked),
an inhuman person,
being the remaining ones (of a number).

A living thing :
specified —
precise —
particular —
having fixed limits —
tending in a direction that makes an angle (with anything else)
flat or level,
situated at the vertex,
acting in a manner opposite or contrary (to that which is usual),
as an appliance or apparatus,
or customary.

Most convenient,
desirable or favorable:
a direction (or vicinity),
tolerating disregard,
watchful care.


To hold out —
or endure —
in a stage already passed (unchanged in character).

Any spot in a surface
not altered or different in any way.

One such feature or trait —
social position
peculiar to somebody,
serving a system of objects
(with relations between the objects defined according to general custom) —
took possession,
no matter what.

Confining —
serving (to restrain) —
softening minor details,
having stamens
but no pistils.

A scheme
to swindle custody (aside):
various elements of the natural world.

large in number
that may (or can) be a living thing,
left after the destruction of all else
(noting some indefinite day in the future).

The sum of a collection of units
(to remain as before)
a piece of land,
effective for a time only,
a space set apart
for a particular purpose.

To endure —
next —
after the third
(the time indicated by a timepiece):
the act of constructing

The subject in hand:
Something —
no matter what —
Of sound or sturdy construction.

An image formed
from a number
of simpler



Source:  Kass, John. “Why the rush to subdue old man? Charge alleges cop beanbag rounds just weren’t needed.”  Chicago Tribune. 3 April 2014: 1.

The prompt: Select a single sentence from a newspaper article. Replace each meaningful word in the text [verb, noun, adjective, adverb] by its dictionary definition. Repeat this treatment on the resulting sentence, and so on, until you’ve had enough! Note that after only two such treatments with a relatively compact dictionary, even a two-word sentence can produce an accumulation of 57 words.

My sentence:  “They retreated, leaving him alone in his room.”

Oulipost #2: Lipogram (Newspaper Titles)


59  DJs

DJ         ’70s        ’n’     ’80s  ’90s

2012,                           2008,                                    DJ

2008,            DJ                 DJ           DJ

1982,           35          DJs

DJ                1955

’70s         DJ

1977,            206 S.

1979,                                               my                                                                                       DJ,

’80s,                                  my                            my                         my                                        ’80s,                                                               DJ

my     my        my

2004,                            2000       DJs                                                                                         2009                            DJ


my     my        my

my DJ

Kot, Greg. “FRANKIE KNUCKLES 1955-2014: His Chicago sound was heard around the world. Knuckles was ‘godfather’ of house music — and much more.”  Chicago Tribune. 2 April 2014:  1.  Print.

The prompt:
A lipogram is a text that excludes one or more letters of the alphabet. The ingenuity demanded by the restriction varies in proportion to the frequency of the letter or letters excluded. For this initial exercise, you will compose a poem using only words that can be formed from letters that are NOT found in the title of your newspaper. For example, if you are working with the Washington Post, you must avoid using words that contain the letters A, G, H, I, N, O, P, S, T and W.


Denial of the science is malpractice.

If you come into the office (and ask)
Was that actually true?
The answer is no.

I met with someone a month ago, and she read a list of questions. One was,
How do we keep women?

I slowly came to understand
how limited and clumsy an approximation was my model of her,
how many variables I had not accounted for
(whose existence I had not even guessed),
and how large and liberating a role chance played in all our affairs.

Even though she named me individually
I felt the clock ticking,
I was the only child, and I lived 1,500 miles away
It was not easy.
It is hard to separate the real ones that are emotional
versus the actual conversations that you might have.

The realization was staggering.
There are other people like me.
So many, in fact, that they have a name for us.

We’re all attracted and gravitate toward positive people,
upbeat people,
people with energy,
We want to feed off of that.

We have a bat, too, so we have a say in how it turns out

But I always watch one more tape after it’s happened to make sure.


“The gap years: Women leave the workforce for a variety of reasons, including to raise their children or care for aging parents. But finding jobs after long absences can be difficult. Here are some women who have used re-entry programs to find employment.” Chicago Tribune digitalPLUS Magazine. 1 April 2014: 6. Print.

Cohen, Jodi S. and Stacy St. Clair. “Juror issues may trigger retrial:
Foreman of panel that sided against CSU in wrongful termination suit was also defendant in dispute filed by relative of trustee.” Chicago Tribune. 1 April 2014: 6. Print.

Dardick, Hal and Bill Ruthhart. “Mayor’s pension fix: Tax, cut property taxes would rise, benefits would shrink for some city employees, but $600M crisis still looms.” Chicago Tribune. 1 April 2014: 1. Print.

Miller, Greg, Adam Goldman and Ellen Nakashima. “Senate report casts doubts on CIA interrogation claims.” Chicago Tribune. 1 April 2014: 10. Print.

Preston, Jennifer. “Paving the way: New programs help women return to workforce after taking breaks to raise children, care for parents.” Chicago Tribune digitalPLUS Magazine. 1 April 2014: 3. Print.

Reuters. “Global warming threat escalated in U.N. report.” Chicago Tribune. 1 April 2014: 11. Print.

Rosin, Hanna. “Letting go of Asperger’s: Months after our son was diagnosed, the label officially disappeared. And that turned out to be a good thing.” Chicago Tribune digitalPLUS Magazine. 1 April 2014: 11. Print.

Sullivan, Paul. “Lame old story: Offense instantly reverts to form.” Chicago Tribune. 1 April 2014, sec. Sports: 1. Print.

Wiederer, Dan. “With Allen, it all checks out: Pass rusher believes in his new team as much as it believes in him.” Chicago Tribune. 1 April 2014, sec. Sports: 2. Print.


The prompt:
When composing a cento, poets take lines from existing poems (traditionally without any alterations) and patch them together to form a new poem. Today, create a cento using only quotes referenced in newspaper articles. For example, if a newspaper article contained the line “It was a tragedy,” commented Detective Smith, the line, “It was a tragedy,” would be available for you to use in your poem. While you can’t change anything within the quotes themselves, you may choose to break a longer quote in half or use just part of a quote as needed.