Today’s Oulipost challenge: Write a sonnet sourced from lines found in newspaper articles. You may choose your own sonnet type. ( Examples here) and should feel free to be creative with the rules. One known Oulipo variation is “sonnets of variable length,” in which one must compose a sonnet in which the lines are either as short as possible or as long as possible.

I thought at first about doing a word sonnet, but once I had chosen the article I planned to use, that didn’t seem like it would work quite the way I wanted. I read briefly about Berrigan’s sonnets and decided to go with a very loose variation. I also went with 3 quatrains and a closing couplet.


To Learn More About Swooping
—Variation on a Berrigan Sonnet

English: A young White-backed Vulture in Mikum...

English: A young White-backed Vulture in Mikumi National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


One more drop into the sky,
that first dive from the heavens:
a cobalt breeze, a soft blue sky.
Free fall emotion in love again.

Practising three hours a day
at too steep an angle, he let go
to learn more about swooping, fast
and low, too close to the ground.

A chain two feet too long
can change a man’s character
in a cloud of dust
two storeys into the air.

To mourn the world,
he’s learning to drive.

CAS April 12, 2014


  • Source: Skydiver makes peace with the heavens, By Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen PRINT EDITION April 12, 2014 (E1)
English: Shakespeare's sonnet 1

English: Shakespeare’s sonnet 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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