A while ago, I started to make poems out of old newspapers. These are found poems, composed according to simple rules (the kind of constraints favoured by Oulipo).

To make a foundling:

1. take a line of text across a column on the front page of a newspaper, ignoring any broken words.

2. repeat on all subsequent pages containing editorial text, i.e. taking only one line from each page.

3. sort the lines to reveal hidden narratives, lyrical ensembles, and so on.

The specimen below was derived from an edition of The Guardian.


the miserable weather was a
mountain road lined with mulberry

thrown into an environment where
all human beings face the same global
absolute freedom to create their own
night clubs and hotels
be more innovative
banana crops
have repeatedly been ambushed

knowledge will travel at the speed of
two cases of dripping
behind barbed wire

unlikely to grapple with the bigger issues
carefully selected teachers are to be
instrumental in creating
another pile of gloomy economic data
lit with artistic reverence
designed to improve their performance
and how difficult it is going to be for them
to keep the numbness away
manipulated for the sake of narrow
such as heli-skiing and paragliding

the conflict has reopened old rifts
there have been muted rumblings
there is even talk of a ceilidh

the nematode bug swarms through
the stifling heat of late afternoon.

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