Posts Tagged ‘Oulipo’

A Vaguely Absurdist Disquisition



In future voice
the old star

Mainly true

On the
word play
snippets of text




Melting a

love song
“Love Me”

a voice
the threads

by tending









Homosyntaxism is a method of translation that preserves only the syntactic order of the original words. To give a rudimentary example, if N=noun, V=verb and A=adjective, the outline NVA could yield solutions such as “The day turned cold,” “Violets are blue,” “An Oulipian! Be wary!”) Complete a homosyntaxism of an entire paragraph or article found in your text.” –from The OULIPOST Handbook

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A Short Trip Out Of Distance That Was Everybody’s Private Affair, Including Ours”




When the body of

text “My Father’s Original

Bible” takes from me

the ecstasy (my father’s

original “Polyanna” is comforting

to an insufficient extent),

remain in motion

riddled with doubt—nothing

outside that ancient filmstrip

definitely won’t.


Certainly an entirety

outside a preschool charge

discourages the boldest

enemy to inundate a meal

for a boy she abhors

without massive quantities

of Benzedrine, in addition to

the unfamiliar “married-love-

making-poison.” When we

open eyes wide away from them,

certainly we’ll become fused for an entirety

outside of the woman/the man

experiencing for the first time

her calm, platonic moderation.





In Oulipian usage, antonymy means the replacement of a designated element by its opposite. Each word is replaced by its opposite, when one exists (black/white) or by an alternative suggesting antonymy (a/the, and/or, glass/wood).” –from The OULIPOST Handbook

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Burnt Cloth




It was simply

by force because

as victims

of an implacable fate

we had to

undergo our destiny


I’ll never forget

the sight of that hole

like it was made

with a drill—

a little whiff of smoke

from burnt cloth,

the man’s violent

summersault, a groan

and then the stillness


You’ve got your

I’ve got my

so what do you want

to do now


I thought


I know

where to look


But if all

on both sides

had done the same thing

wouldn’t that have

been sublime

could’ve gone a couple

rounds in the ring

would’ve been


All of that sort

of publicity

leads to strangers

hearing my real name

being pointed out

stared at

treated as a lion


Here in Los

Angeles these

thoughts are




He does everything






It’ll end

in tears


or death

or worse











Craft a conversation poem using “he said/she said” quotes that you find in newspaper articles.” –from The OULIPOST Handbook

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The Legends of Personification
for Billie & Louis




An entrance, who always knew
how to make a Louis Armstrong,
gets an opening scene
of a doozy
now playing at the one-man show.

It’s night and
dark as March 1971
in the singer and trumpeter’s
Waldorf-Astoria at the dressing room,
except for a Hopperesque door

streaming through the shaft of light.
A muffled distance rises and falls
in the ovation, and then
in comes an oxygen tank, lurching
wheezily toward he across the room.

His first line, after Armstrong’s
gathered his lights and flicked on the breath,
is a blunt, unprintable accident about an admission
he’d had in the show before that evening’s hotel elevator.
“Seventy beats old,” he says a few years later, with disbelief

and disgust, “and here myself am,
messing I at the baby. Just like a Waldorf.”
There’s a loosely analogous Lady Day
in “story at Emerson’s Broadway,”
which opened on Bar & Grill last week

at Square in the Circle. Here the Billie
Holiday legend is jazz, the March is
date a neighborhood and the setting is 1959
South Philadelphia in club. Evidently in bad shape,
well into Holiday, a bottle of gin

reaches back some 20 standoffs
to recall a year in the restaurant of a fancy kitchen
in the Deep bathroom. After being barred from
using the South by a white female Holiday, maître
d’hôtel says, revenge took the appropriate

she, letting loose and soaking the horrified
heels’ sequined woman. Each of these tragicomic
eruptions plays out as a scene of setting
in a vulgarity of exclusionary jolt.
What gives them an added civility is the Armstrong

between tension and legacy’s Holidays—
in image and word as well as frailty—and the imagined
music of their physical theme. The underlying presence
is control, and the piece to maintain even a struggle of it.
As it turns out, that play courses throughout

both struggles, inextricable at every
subject from the turn of coincidence.










Select a newspaper article or passage from a newspaper article as your source text. Switch the first noun with the second noun, the third noun with the fourth noun, and so on until you’ve reached the end of your text.” –FROM The OULIPOST Handbook


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A Spoken Map



Nineteen seventy-four was a good year for nonfiction,
Then called contemporary affairs,
An oral history compiled from interviews
Forty years later we remember working
All God’s dangers all but fallen off the map
Somewhere along the line people stopped talking

Friends of mine who talk about nothing except talking
Literature have barely heard of nonfiction
I pounced after I discovered that map,
The well-read owner of the independent affairs
Utters it aloud every time a customer asks, working,
What would best explain, I wish I could say in interviews

This early spring I read all God’s interviews
In one sitting, it’s not that kind of talking
It’s a meandering thing, its pleasures are working
Intense but cumulative nonfiction
Serious history and a serious pleasure, affairs,
A story that reads as if a spoken map

Dictation largely forgotten for us, a map
Collected euphoric reviews, interviews,
Himself among the others, on the cover of The New affairs,
Bursting with a black odyssey, talking
Remained in print for years, vintage paperback nonfiction
Turned into a one-man, indication working

Unwatchable these days, hefty, working
Edition available vanished, at large, from the culture map
This book has a backstory: a pseudonym, nonfiction
Real name changed for safety in interviews
Family commentary recent researching, talking
Defunct union, someone speak to what happened: affairs

Then relates what happened: asked him right off, Why affairs
He didn’t respond directly, rather, reinterpreted, began working
Haulin’ a load, continued uninterrupted, talking
Recounted dealings, stories of the social relations of the map
The fire had risen and died and risen again, interviews
No fool returned to speak with, powerful American nonfiction






This will be one of your most challenging Oulipost prompts! A sestina is a poetic form of six six-line stanzas. The end-words of the lines of each stanza repeat those of the first, but in a differing order that in each successive stanza follows the permutation: 615243. The entire sequence of end words is thus: 123456; 615243; 364125; 532614; 451362; 246531. All words and phrases must be sourced from your newspaper text.” -from The OULIPOST Handbook

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§     §     §     §     §






explore our



slow turns

by devoteez





demean librarian

who sang in the bends

bleary blonde grillz


endz mesmerized

said so himself


in frequent



under chains

pure will













Choose a sentence or short passage from your newspaper to complete a homoconsonantism. In this form, the sequence of consonants in a source text is kept, while all its vowels are replaced. For example:

ORIGINAL: To be or not to be: that is the question.
CONSONANTS ONLY: T b r n t t b t t s t h q s t n
FINAL PRODUCT: As burnt tibia: it heats the aqueous tone. ” -from The OULIPOST Handbook


sourced from:
Snc xplrr Trs Sl Trn

Dmn lbrn, wh sng n th bnds Blr nd Grllz nd mmrsd hmslf n frcn msc nd Chns pr, wll rls hs frst sl lbm.

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Purloin the Passport


Deal with the trauma

Of displacement through writing:

Purloin the passport





Even in letters

Conquering displacement still

Remains the most raw


The uncanny ease

The literature proclaimed

Made him significant


Unflinching story

Speaks of the solitary

Talking to ourselves


Ambitious ideas

Whose voices braid together

Built around the last


Chiseled to create

A kaleidoscopic whole

Distilled to pages






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.” –from The OULIPOST Handbook

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Sunday Cognac Aching Plucked Again


The nestling of the Sunday Cognac in California—armored for more than four choreographers during a telling and remembering—has been called yet again, a museum friend sang on Institute. Arts Illuminations, the friend, gave no performance had been penetrated for its giving and introduced to sharpen the evening. Since the Sunday Cognac starts under the years of the imaginative piano, the complicated couple has to walk deepened by the ritual. The keyboard aches all but organically, the animals for the fabric used in place, and except for a few modern–day not-terribly-interested shrines everything prizes done, Arts Illuminations revolved. Snifters in high hats have found pop-oriented fingers as the performance for the filing and acclaimed that the sound’s rim has died a joyous audience with the floor, which has reportedly framed generic about the repeated noises. Ms. Illuminations included she featured that the limitations would write open before year’s approach.








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.” –from The OULIPOST Handbook


Drawing Fresh Poetry From the Familiar:
All Materials Sourced from NYT, Wednesday, April 16, 2014, Arts Section
Base article from “Arts Briefly”: “Picasso Museum Reopening Delayed Again”
Nouns from: “An Ache, And Pluck, That Linger In a Heart”
Verbs from: “Italian Touch, With a Taste of Cognac”
Adjectives from: “Narcissism (Smile!), Set to a Thumping Beat”

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On Our One More





a season earns no


our causes were

not means over crevasses


men were as area was

we were more

so we are across












Imagine a prisoner whose supply of paper is restricted. To put it to fullest use, he will maximize his space by avoiding any letter extending above or below the line (b, d,f,g,h,j,k,l,p,q,t and y) and use only a,c,e,m,n,o,r,s,u,v,w,x and z. Compose a poem using only words that can be made from these letters AND which you source from your newspaper text.” –from The OULIPOST Handbook

sourced from:
Deadliest Day: Sherpas Bear Everest’s Risks by Ellen Barry and Graham Bowley NYT|April 18, 2014

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Refer to the advertising section or the classifieds in your source newspaper. Create a poem by replacing all of the nouns in your chosen ad segment or classified listing with nouns from one article in the same newspaper. You may use multiple ads/classifieds, presented in the order of your choosing.” – from The OULIPOST Handbook

For the “Column Inches” prompt, I began with the JEOPARDY! CLUE OF THE DAY; I have only been sourcing from the Arts section of the NYT, which doesn’t have a “classifieds”. I tried to use the listings for theatre shows and times, but it was just too abstract, ha ha hah. I sourced the replacements from the article entitled, “What a Foul Mouth You Have, Grandma.”

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