At the gates on the mairie is what appears to be a letter box, although beneath it is a kind of explanatory plaque. Although the plaque confuses more than it explains, which is perhaps the intention. But the group ALIS (Association Lieux Images et Sons) in Fère-en-Tardenois, founded in 1982 by Pierre Fourny (unmentioned on the plaque) gave the 'letter box' to the town on 17 November 2001: Fère-en-Tardenois becomes the world capital of La poésie à 2 mi-mots. But what exactly does the expression mean?
Pierre Fourny invented La poésie à 2 mi-mots at the beginning of this century, and it has a great resemblance to an original Oulipian constraint. In fact the 'letter box' itself is an example of this poetry, which in the words of Fourny 'est un procédé d'une simplicité désarmante : il consiste simplement à couper les mots d'un trait horizontal. Chacune des deux moitiés de mots obtenues est contenue dans un autre mot, ou plusieurs autres mots': in other words it is an amazingly simple procedure in which words are cut across by a horizontal line. The two halves of the words contain another word or other words. In the example here, the word ECRITES appropriately produces LETTRES, or vice versa. It does of course depend on where you make the cut.