Sunday, 27 April 2014


I was full of good intentions while away on holiday, but the flesh was weak. Now, with only two days to go to the end of the month, I've lost my momentum. It was an interesting experience to be an Ouliposter, and I'll certainly be using some of the ideas to produce poems in the future. I also want to go back and read other Found poets' work. I didn't want to be over-influenced at the time, but I have a lot to learn from others , who've kept to the rules, and who've produced clever work. Thank you Oulipost for giving me the opportunity.

Thursday, 17 April 2014


'The Haiku is a Japanese poetic form whose most obvious feature is the division of its 17 syllables into lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Haikuisation has sometimes been used by Oulipians to indicate the reduction of verses of normal length to lines of haiku-like brevity. Select three sentences from a single newspaper article and “haiku” them.'

What I did  for yesterday's prompt, 'Cyfri'r Geifr' (Counting the Goats) was a haikuisation.  The haiku below was the result of combining two articles, one on Skokholm, an Island off the west coast of Pembrokeshire and the other about sexism in the UK.(references quoted yesterday) 

I am now away for ten days over Easter without internet access. So, although I will try and respond to some prompts, I won't be able to post them til the end of April.


Volunteers like choughs
grope and stroke on burning nights
trudging, complaining.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


Wednesday April 16 prompt is
'The chimera of Homeric legend – lion’s head, goat’s body, treacherous serpent’s tail – has a less forbidding Oulipian counterpart. It is engendered as follows. Having chosen a newspaper article or other text for treatment, remove its nouns, verbs and adjectives. Replace the nouns with those taken in order from a different work, the verbs with those from a second work, the adjectives with those from a third.'

What I'm learning from being an Ouliposter without much time,  is that if it doesn't work in the hour I have, then try and make it something else or abandon it for now. I can always come back to it. For me this month is more about learning new ways to write poetry than the finished outcome.
      Today, I used four sources: an article in the Guardian newspaper,'China cancels human rights dialogue with Britain over 'interference'';Good Housekeeping,May 2014, 'Stamp Out Sexism'; Natural World, Spring 2014, 'Skokholm Diary', and the Western Mail, April 12, 'Two singers, one voice.' 
      It just wouldn't work, so I decided to write a Haiku, and have come up with two- one to use for tomorrow's Haikuisation.

Cerys Matthews makes music

Eight stuck in a lift
Counting the Goats, a Welsh song
Nowt so dear as folk.

* 'Cyfri'r Geifr', a Welsh song title,'Counting the Goats,' Sung in rounds increasingly quickly. Breaks the ice and gets you tongue-tied.  

Monday, 14 April 2014


I've spent the last two days on a creative writing for well-being course in Bristol run by the Orchard Foundation, so have missed a couple of days prompts. In today's the instruction is:-
'Refer to the advertising section or the classifieds in your source newspaper. Create a poem by replacing all of the nouns in your chosen segment with nouns from one article in the same newspaper. You may use multiple ads/classifieds, presented in the order of your choosing.'

I used the Telegraph magazine of 12 April 2014, an ad on hearing aids with an article by Charlie Norton and Giulio di Sturco of The British Exploring Society, called Expanding Horizons.

As I'm working in an hour I had very little time to produce this, and it shows.


Hearing place?
Make sure you get the right geology.

Should you go NHS or Private for your hearing frontier?

This essential free expedition will help you choose the right landscape.
Lava included with:-
What you need to qualify
What you have to do to obtain an NHS digital hearing rock
What type of rock and what mountain scree you can expect,
snow on what hearing mood might be suitable.
Also, the valleys and sheep of going private.

Janet Daniel, 14 April 2014

Saturday, 12 April 2014


Today, I was on the train to Bristol, where I was attending the second level of a course on writing for well-being. I saw yesterday's newspaper on the seat, one I would n't normally read, The Daily Mail, Friday 11, 2014), and decided to give the following article a univocalist treatment with the vowel E.
 'RAF hero, 83, arrested and locked up for seven hours-for taking painkillers to his wife in a care home.'
If it wasn't for the antics of a hen party, dressed in pink cowboy hats, blowing whistles to see who could take their big knickers off first, I may have got something better.. .Yeah, as if.

'A univocalic text is one written with a single vowel. It is consequently a lipogra in all the other vowels. If he had been univocally minded, Hamlet might have exclaimed,
'Be? Never be?. Perplexed quest: seek the secret!'  All words used must be sourced from your newspaper.'

He's been left there,
Best cell; Seven.
Never been
never been left.

Friday, 11 April 2014


I'm on a roll. . .
'This procedure requires the first word of a text to have only one letter, the second two, the third three, and so on as far as resourcefulness and inspiration allow. The first word of a snowball is normally a vowel: in English, a I or O.
From your newspaper, select a starting vowel and then continue adding words of increasing length from the same source article or passage. Challenge yourself further by only using words in order as you encounter them in the text.'


A hollow-tipped wail

tormented fingers

in a blood-strewn court-room;

‘Have a look! Have a look!’

On Valentine’s Day

an intruder.

Milliseconds of melon memories,

a firearm discharged.

Shot, killed, shock body-horror.

‘Have a look! Have a look!’

Protestations and responsibility.

Accident or murder?

The trial continues.


Janet Daniel
From: The I, April 11, 2014. Tom Pack. Prosecutor orders Pistorius to look at picture of Reeva’s body.

Thursday, 10 April 2014


Wednesday’s prompt was: ‘Compose a poem whose body is sourced from article headlines in your newspaper.’ Mine is taken from the front page of the  I, Thursday 10 April 2014. ( I know, I'm behind). It would be quite fun to make a soup of these words and pull them out at random to see what happens. But I think I’ll just go on to yesterday’s prompt.

‘Culture secretary resigns after scandal over expenses. Tory Party vice-chairman fired for tweeting: ‘About time.’ No mothers in the cabinet for first time in 22 years. New women’s minister opposes gay marriage. Student debt in your 50s for 75% of today’s undergrads. Ukraine: 48-hours to get out-ultimatum to separatists. Why the MoD wants to censor my Helmand book. End of the Road for Red Devils after exit from Europe.  Secrets of the Mummies. The drugs scandal of the century.’

Janet Daniel, April 11, 2014.


I am behind and feeling like Alice running after the White Rabbit with the stopwatch.' Not enough time. I'm late.'

'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.'
In the newspaper that day was news of the sudden death of 25 yr old Peaches Geldof. Last week our neighbours cut down a magnificent pink Magnolia. I'd been wanting to write an ode to the tree. I tried to do the exercise but the tree and Peaches' tragic early death kept merging. So, I cheated again, and wrote the poem calling me.

‘Me and my Mum,’she wrote beneath the photo.

Magnolia campbellii has astonishing goblet flowers.

Faces close, their blond pony-tails centre-headed

Icons of spring and summer.

Peaches lost Paula when she was 11 years old

The Magnolia tree next door was 25 years old

when the neighbours axed her down.

‘From a family often fractured but never broken’

Magnolia grandiflora flowers before leaves emerge.

‘She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest.

The enchanted tree was not sick

Her death was sudden and unexplained.

No group of trees is so highly appreciated.

169,000 fans followed her every tweet.

Magnolias in the wild are pollinated by primitive wingless beetles.

Her second name was honeyblossom.Birds sang in her boughs.

The flower buds of Magnolia salicifolia are used to treat headaches, allergies, Parkinsons, and cancer.

We loved her and will cherish her forever.

She left two small children, a husband and father

She left us the neighbours.

‘Writing ‘was’ destroys me afresh.’

We are beyond pain.

Janet Daniel, April 11 2014. The Guardian, 8 April.
Bob Geldof’s tribute to his daughter.

Monday, 7 April 2014


I didn't really know what Iambic pentameter is. There were no examples in the prompt. My friend helped me recognise ten syllable phrases in my newspaper, but I wasn't inspired by the result, so we turned to today's prompt.
'Select a passage from one of your newspaper articles. Replace each noun in te passage with the seventh noun following it in the dictionary.'

This was much more fun. Although, I have cheated- a bit!


Sciatica hollows
where the yin temptress

shows-off the weepie’s smoking jacket-

a Yiddish weave-
with levity and levitation.

Daylight robbery on the North Star.
The poltoon with time-off and yellow fever

looks south-south-east for filberts.


Janet Daniel
April 7 2014

From:  The Times Saturday April 5 2104, P.13. ‘Breath of fresh air as weather turns.’

Friday, 4 April 2014


Saturday's prompt is:
'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.'

As I'm on a playwriting course tomorrow, I decided to have a go today.
I chose an article,' Catastrophe averted as pet discovered trapped in sofa,' by Ben Kendall in the newspaper, I -the essential daily briefing, April 4,4014.

I chose the letter 'T'.


Ten year old Tabby
in the taken-apart three seater.

Thought lost.

Taken into town,






'til two claws
and a miaouw

turned lost to found.

Janet Daniel

April 4 2014.


Today's Oulipost prompt is:

'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.'
How I hated this. All that counting and all I got was some pronouns, prepositions, adjectives, and linking words (what are they called in English grammar?). First I wrote a piece of prose, hoping to drag a poem out kicking and screaming. Nought. So then I peeped at other Ouliposter's entries to see how they'd dealt with the challenge, and saw that they'd been far less ambitious. So here's my effort, although hardly a poem.
I used an article in yesterday's (3 April 14) Guardian newspaper by Suzanne Moore, 'Sold Subject to Contract'

It was small via cramped.
Because it was smaller, rentable
with the small pension.

Janet Daniel

April 4 2014.



Today's Ouliposter task was:
'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.'

I chose an article from The Guardian UK newspaper, April 3 2014 by Krisnan Guru-Murthy. The Making of Miliband. He is an MP and the leader of the Labour Party, currently in opposition in the government.

'If Miliband is, in truth, an obsessive political geek who cares little about pop music or going to the pub, that in itself will not stop him from being a popular political leader.'(33words)

I realised half way through that it was far too long a sentence, but I persevered.

If Miliband is in the state of being true, thinking continually about something relating to government, a person who is unfashionable or awkward in the company of other people, who feels a small amount of concern about modern commercial music with a strong melody and beat, or moving to a building in which an alchoholic drink made from fermented malt flavoured with hops, and other drinks are served, that in itself will not bring to an end the nature of a person relating to politics, to be liked or admired by many people and to be a person or thing that leads. (102words).

And I started to wonder what is the point...

If Miliband is in the condition of someone or something existing in accordance with fact or reality, his ideas or opinions constantly or often occurring, having no interruptions, about an unspecified or unknown thing, feeling sympathy for the group of people who govern a state; he, an individual human being who is not popular, nor fashionable, is causing or feeling embarrassment,who is aware of not a large total of worry about views of those widely held relating to the present or recent times, making or intending to make a profit in the art of combining the sounds of a voice or instrument in a pleasing way with a physically powerful tune in a main accent, or in motion from one particular position or area, in which a colourless flammable liquid, which is the ingredient that gives drinks such as wine, beer, and spirits their intoxicating effect, are served; that in itself will not cause the final part of something, the inborn qualities or characteristics of a person concerning sense and wisdom in the circumstances, find pleasant,satisfactory or regarded with respect by many human beings and one who causes a person or animal to go with them. (196w)

So I decided to strip back down to the essentials and came up with a Haiku.


Does being a geek
make Miliband a leader
because or despite​?

Janet Daniel

April 3 2014

Wednesday, 2 April 2014



Osborne pledges full employment to woo votes.

He wanted the UK to be the best place; to create a job, to get a job,

to keep a job, to be helped to look for another job.

Feels better when you have a plan.

Rodents, where ever we travel, they do too.

Slow never felt so fast.

Japan has been ordered to end whale hunts.

Banks broke 'deals' over sell off.

Scotland could not keep the pound, purged

of the MPs from a country that was soon to separate from the rest of the UK.

Rodents, where ever we travel, they do too.

Dads who stay at home-should they not have advanced the most powerful argument of the lot?

Attempts to guarantee a job to every person are doomed.

Thousands more non-human heart beats stutter.

Rodents, where ever we travel, they do too.

Slow never felt so fast.

There are shudders at the top.

Panorama sources leaked before the show.

They can do nothing about the context.

Rats are seen by some as our natural successor.

Rodents, where ever we travel, they do too-

the era of the rat.

Janet Daniel

April 2 2014

Oulipost #2 Lipogram*

From: 'I'  (UK daily newspaper. April 1 2014)

 *(Poem not using letter i in title of newspaper)

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, passion. Five a day is not enough to stay healthy. It is somewhere between 12 and 18 courses. It is four hours of eating and it is pure, total theatre. This is why he removed a computer and a jiffy bag containing pornographic DVDs from his Chelsea Harbour home. Being a Mummy is the hardest job in the world. All we have is a chain of inferences and suspicious activity. There is no evidence of his presence. I don't think it'll last very long. I don't think you can be for very long a citizen of nowhere. This would have made a very traumatic time in the history of life far worse. It could have been the killer blow that led to the biggest mass extinction we've known. Many of the failings in this serious case are similar to others: people didn't talk to each other. You spend a third of your life asleep and yet we don't make the most of that, we think we just turn our brains off and so concentrate on our waking hours. It's very likely there are significant lessons. It's been my dream to do this, bring an original take on this content and bring it out to the world.

Janet Daniel
April 1st 2014

Quotes from: i Essential daily briefing for Independent, April 1 2014. No 1,044