The Found Poetry Collaboration #3, featuring: Lydia Allison, Kate Garrett, James Gidding, Joanna Lee

8 Apr


The Found Poetry Collaboration 2014

For the next 4 weeks poets Lydia Allison, Kate Garrett, James Giddings and Joanna Lee will be writing 1 piece of found poetry per fortnight:

A found poem is created when words in an existing piece of writing are lifted from that writing and rearranged to create a greater emotional response. A found poem is shaped from a collection of words or phrases found in one text or a selection of texts to shape an entirely new poem.  

The poets are free to use any texts they like, and I throw in one found text of my choice per fortnight just to mix it up a bit. For the Week 3 poem I chose a section from a  short story by Hermann Hesse called ‘Strange News From Another Star’ (you’ll find the section at the bottom of the post, should you wish to read it). 


Living Without The Bright Gods

by James Giddings


He just couldn’t deal with love, didn’t know how
to love us, too fucked up, wearing pink shoes and asking

for money, mystery. It seemed to him altogether too painful
to answer, and all the same laughable and silly; our prayers

in all their boring pageantry, our shining fashion of errands,
receipts and dirty dishes. I want a life that pops and sizzles:

I want to eat ripe tomatoes, sing out loud in the car with the windows open, paint my walls the exact same colour of the sky right now.

I’ve begun worshipping the sun. I formerly offered it a weeping
madonna, the face of Christ in a ciabatta roll, the cold tangerines

from the fridge. Greeting cards tell us that everybody deserves
love. No. Not all the time. Everybody deserves clean water.


Created using extracts from:

– Hermann Hesse, Strange News From Another Star
― Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life
– Zadie Smith, White Teeth
– George Carlin, Brain Droppings


knight of cups

by Kate Garrett


this knight
is a troubadour
brings madness
of emotion
with the grace
of a fish.

this star
is an experience:
dread of error
questioning the path
of the heart.

this sorrow
is laughable
your waking life
a lower order –
warmhearted mischance
of physical love.

source texts: 

Hermann Hesse, ‘Strange News from Another Star’ (37-38)
Trish MacGregor & Phyllis Vega, Power Tarot (‘Knight of Cups’ 102-103)


pi e zo elec tric i ty

noun:  electricity due to pressure, especially in a crystalline substance

by Joanna Lee


–they slew one another in masses


In astonishment at death, youth
muscles its pathway out
from deep and terrible sorrow.
Its spinal cord cleft by

passively composed spikes,
it is desensitized to
the way of life on this cruel star,
to equilibrium clamped

by the dread of bright gods,
to the vivid currents of disturbing
and volatile things
that saturate the retina. And yet

the laughable output of a single
neuron is enough to affect
the whole body, to ask bitterly
in the dark the crucial why.
Under physiological confessions,
madness is shining still,
a compelling anesthetic
to the real, evolved, pain of failure.


text from “Strange News From Another Star” by Hermann Hesse and Molecular and Cellular Physiology of Neurons by Gordon L. Fain, chapter 10, “Inhibitory Transmission.”


the youth

by Lydia Allison


the young man listened, astounded
at the madness and difficulty
the sadness and gravity
in the people.

he had a sense that he knew
he would never grasp
the complex context
of these terrifying, terrible, obscure,
dark things.
he felt no desire,
no wish to understand.

these sorrowful, pitiable people were creatures,
creatures of a lower order,
they had not been blessed by bright
gods. the light of the gods .
they were ruled by demons, some mischance,
mishap, some horrid error.
the course of life seemed too painful.

He was sorry for these, who lived
in dread of death
lived in gloom and killed and slew each other.
ignoble faces, crude
expressions of deep, terrible sorrow
caused him pain.
their disturbing shining fashion
almost ridiculous, almost laughable –
ridiculous and disturbing, laughable and silly
shameful and foolish.


* I have used the provided text, along with a different translation of the same story, “Strange news from another planet” from The Fairytales of Hermann Hesse, translated by Jack Zipes (1995: Bantam Books)


 To find out more about Lydia, Kate, James and Joanna please visit:


Lydia Allison:

Kate Garrett:

James Giddings:

Joanna Lee:


Lydia, Kate, James and Joanna will be back on  Thursday 24th April with their last pieces of found poetry. Tomorrow, you’ll find Ben Cooper our creative resident with another piece of his work.  Thank you for your interest. 

If you missed out on the previous found poems you can find them here.


*Full text of the piece I sent the foundlings:

The youth listened to all this in astonishment at the madness and difficulty of the people’s way of life on this star. He would have liked to ask many more questions, but he knew with certainty that he would never understand the whole context of these dark and terrifying things; indeed, he felt no real wish to understand them.  Either these pitiable creatures belonged to a lower order, were still without the bright gods and were ruled by demons, or some unique mischance, some horrid error, prevailed on this star. And it seemed to him altogether too painful and cruel to go on questioning this king, compelling him to answers and confessions which could only be bitterly humiliating. These people who lived in the dark dread of death and yet slew one another in masses, whose faces were composed with such ignoble coarseness as that of the farmer or with such deep and terrible sorrow as that of the King, they caused him pain, and yet in their disturbing and shining fashion they seemed to him so strange as to be almost laughable, laughable and silly. (Strange News From Another Star and Other Stories, Penguin Twentieth Century Classics, 37-38).

One Response to “The Found Poetry Collaboration #3, featuring: Lydia Allison, Kate Garrett, James Gidding, Joanna Lee”

  1. Lydia Allison April 9, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    Reblogged this on Lydia Allison.

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