Friday, April 18, 2014

Oulipost 18: Code my ice drift, collude my issue

For the Oulipost 2014 project, today we're going to experiment with the technique called HOMOCONSONANTISM:
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.

This is a challenging exercise, friends! After four or five attempts, I found I just had to trust and go with it. The attempt that was the least jibberish-y is displayed below.  A couple of comments: 1) The title of the poem is the homoconsonantized version of the news-article title. 2) I used the letter y as a vowel.

Other Ouliposters have written some creative poems using this technique and posted them on the Oulipost homoconsonantism page at Found Poetry Review. Be sure to check it out!


code my ice drift, collude my issue

do austere cities 
daunt? heave then eddy. 
emote a home. to cloak,
i now elude a gate, hail
a past. eden, too, 
is my opera, a view 
we air out.

Original sentence:
Districts don’t have the needed mathematical knowledge to help students improve, Wu wrote.

d, s, t, r, c, t, s, d, n, t, h, v, t, h, n, d, d, m, t, h, m, t, c, l, k, n, w, l, d, g, t, h, l, p, s, t, d, n, t, s, m, p, r, v, w, w, r, t

Title consonants.
c, d, m, c, d, r, f, t, c, l, l, d, m, s, s

Poem Source:
Wang, Stephanie. "Academic draft called ‘a mess’." Indy Star [Indianapolis, Indiana] 18 Apr 2014. A1

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Oulipost 17: Haikuisation

It's Day 17 of the  Oulipost 2014 project! Today, we'll be distilling and compressing, creating poems using the HAIKUISATION technique:
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.
These are fun to write, a relaxing practice that would make a satisfying accompaniment to your daily read of the news even after Poetry Month ends. 

Try your own haikuisation. And if you get a chance, check out the Oulipost haikuisation page at Found Poetry Review!



letter, fresh
October scuds, white
time fleeting



world mischief 
imputed to politics

Poem Sources:

Higgins, Will. "The Father of Our Zoo." Indy Star [Indianapolis, Indiana] 17 Apr 2014. A1

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oulipost 16: Star Report

[While I'm posting the Oulipost #16 on the correct day, I actually wrote it on Day 15, using Day 15 sources, because I'll be on the road for most of the day.]

It's all about monsters for Day 16 of the  Oulipost 2014 project. We're going to create a poem using the CHIMERA technique: 
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.
So brush up on your grammar if needed and play along! If you want to see what can be done with this form, head on over to the Oulipost chimera page at Found Poetry Review!

Star Report

Oh, the tragedy: Having to break 
your credit score and work

with opinions. Those of you who swiped
your credit scores off to the IRS

on Monday (or years ago)—wake up
and then report to the movies.

Plastic investigators will be strolling by
with potentially semi-sized blazes

and a fitting disbelief of opinions

on their backs. That’s right, opinions.

Up to about a half-year of opinions
were thought to die before 4:30 a.m today,

conflicted investigator O. Sunshine said,
but little should remain on fire.

Still, friends and family could seem lit-up
with stories as moderate people turn
above and below. Trustees likely 

will be dignified in the movies—in Tenessee
for sacriligeous treasure. Whatever 

opinions do die on Monday won’t die
unwanted. Just as your credit scores

commemorate a blaze—fire up that
blow-molded balcony or bed!—

opinions will seem like temples open to officials
(and about 40 spirits later in the film).

This group of opinions, if there’s any movie at all,
Sunshine continued, will remain empty.

Late-arriving crews found the most 

unwavering opinion ever allowed

in the most miraculous film ever
was stolen on May 9, 1923.

Poem Sources:

Indy Star 16 Apr 2014.

Base article
Star report. "Double whammy: snow and taxes." A1

Noun article
Mack, Justin L. "Victim’s heroism saved lives, pastor says." A1

Verb article
McCleery, Bill. "Taken at Christmas, found for Easter." A3

Adjective article
Bangert, Dave. "Holy family lands in its final, unholy resting place." Viewpoints. A10

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oulipost 15: Moon Omen

Day 15 of the Oulipost 2014 projecthalf way through!!! I can hardly believe it. 

Today, we're pretending to be prisoners, writing poems using the PRISONER’S
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,i,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.
This is an technique that requires a lot reading to glean a handful of words. You'll have gone through a close reading of the day's news by the time you're ready to write your poem, but it's worth it!

The other Ouliposters are hard at it, writing beautiful, funny, clever, creative poems. Check out their prisoner constraint poems over at Found Poetry Review!


Moon Omen

As near as someone can measure,
we were once ice. Rivers course over

ironic versions now. Oceans rise.

We misuse our season. Minor vicars, 

we sour in neon rooms, 
remain ever civic, economic. 

See us score an issue, error across crises. 
We are wiser now, no? We concur 

we are. Our senses answer in a series
of omissions. We never nuance a scene,

voice a concern. Even in a sure
sun, no one sees our crimes.

Poem Sources:

Indy Star 14 Apr 2014. Print. Various articles.

For some words, one of the following modifications was made to the source:
  • change in verb tense
  • change in noun from plural to singular or vice versa
  • erasure across a phrase to form a new word

Monday, April 14, 2014

Oulipost 14: Petroleum Picnic, Water Bowl

We're taking a close look at advertisements and classifieds today for the  Oulipost 2014 project. The technique is called COLUMN INCHES. Here are the instructions from the Oulipost 2014 playbook:
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.

This would be another fun warm-up exercise for a writing group or as a warm-up exercise for yourself. If you need some inspiration, check out the abundance of creative poems written by the other Ouliposters on the Found Poetry Review page for the column-inches poems. 


Petroleum Picnic, Water Bowl

10 15 histories 
that need popularity 

10 15 wars needed to “SHOWCASE” our amazing fact-like
exterior reason-stories. A great opportunity to have the remarkable
applied to your property at huge subsidies. Have your city or county
looking freshly painted forever! Made in a reservoir! Hoosier owned! 

Fat-rendering appearanceLooks like fresh money
1,200 heart attacksMeets EPA health concessions
No artificial blast furnacesGreat for all grasslands and schools

Call now for a free coke oven.

Poem Sources:

Indy Star 14 Apr 2014.

advertisement was found on page A2

nouns taken from the following article:
Slabaugh, Seth. "Muncie Water Bowl auction." A9

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Oulipost 13: Vested in Virtue

Lucky Day 13 of the Oulipost 2014 project! Today, it's all about names in our oulipo exercise, the EPITHALAMIUM:
An Oulipian epithalamium, or marriage song, is one composed exclusively with the letters of the names of bride and groom (bride and bride, groom and groom, etc). Visit the engagement or wedding announcements section of your newspaper and select a couple. Write a poem using only words that can be made with the letters in their name. You may choose to use first names only if you prefer anonymity or full names if you’re desperate for more letters.

Below is the poem I came up with. Marriage and engagement announcements are not what they used to be, because there were none, neither in today's Herald Times nor the Indy Star. So I went with the only engagement and/or wedding announcement I could find within the past month in the Indy Star. I won't repeat the actual names of the couple here, but will list the letters in their names: a, b, d, e, h, i, k, m, n, r, s, t, u, v.

And if you get a chance, take a peek at the wonderful poems the other Ouliposters are writing at the Epithalamium page over at Found Poetry Review.

Vested in Virtue

At dusk under redbuds, she bathes
in an umber-hued river. Bridesmaids
braid her hair—stemmed irises, verdant herbs.
Behind her is the dais. Admire the ramekins, brimmed—
brie and bread, absinthe and beer.
In the ambient darkened air, she seems ursine,
bearskin bed, beehive atrium.
Her birthname is tinder, ash hidden in a bitter urn.
Brand the bride, her skin marked in runes.
This is the true tundra: hide a bruise
behind virtue. She hears the drums beat,
their timbre, the hundred bantam mutinies that remain.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Oulipost 12: We Passed On His Secret Torch

Thank-goodness it's the week-end! I needed it for today's Oulipost 2014 Day 12 exercise, the SONNET:
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.
While I am certainly no sonneteer, some of the other Ouliposters are, so be sure to check out their poems for today at the Found Poetry Review's oulipost Sonnet page!


We Passed On His Secret Torch

Even the humblest functionary short-sold the night. For miles,
black smoke. If it seems like a fairy tale, it is. You don’t need
to bring a gun to thunder, lose a million dollars trying to keep
the blast afloat. Put your muscle into moving that vintage fire

to the finish line. Devotees point to statistics, going at right
angles and squares. That's what you got in your rogue. It doesn't appear
Oz is paying attention, though, with his river of thunder wreaking
mayhem. You thought it was the climate, no? Just because you have a right

to fictitious stories doesn't mean your GPS'll take you where you want
to go. Allow the like-minded to congregate. Blame botched hotspots.
It’s easy. Think of the Protestant version or the most famous writer

you've not heard of yet. Be bullish on millennials and immigrants.
Listen, Microsoft was initially a mess, but it’s better now. Not
surprising, there’s expected to be a firefighting crowd after midnight.

Poem sources

Indy Star 12 Apr 2014.

  • Detrich, Matt. “Messages of Hope.” A1
  • ____. “Lots of ‘Pull’.” A3
  • Hunsinger Benbow, Dana. “Charlie & Barney’s makes comeback.” A2
  • Penner, Diana. “Fire at vacant warehouse under control in 2 hours.” A4
  • Pulliam, Russell. “Author Eric Metaxas stands up for life.” A12
  • Maggliozi, Tom and Ray. “Factory-installed GPS won’t take her where she wants to go.” A9
  • White, Charlie. “Ahead of Thunder festival, a debate about gun rights.” A4
  • Williams, Casey. “Auto Infotainment Powered by Apple.” A8
  • Woods, David. “Has soccer’s time arrived in Indy?.” A1

Friday, April 11, 2014

Oulipost 11: sown crops

Day 11 of National Poetry Month and the Oulipost 2014 project brings us to the intriguing technique known as UNIVOCALISM:
A univocalic text is one written with a single vowel. It is consequently a lipogram 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.
In the poem below, I chose the vowel 'o'. (I choose to treat the letter y as a consonant for this exercise. I recognize that it functions as a vowel in the words I selected.)

This is a rather challenging technique. To see some really creative poems that resulted from this constraint, take a look at what the other Oulipost poets wrote! Links to their poems can be found at the univocalism page at the Found Poetry Review.

image Hartwig HKD license Creative Commons

sown crops

by noon, my sons nod off,

both work-worn.

dogs roost on dry rocks,

howl to moon gods.

two colts bolt across to cool woods. look how boldly

brooks flow now, how sky blooms

soft gold, how my body,

born from storm, knows

soon, crows.

Poem sources

Indy Star 11 Apr 2014.

No more than four words were sampled from each of the following:
  • Prayer. A02
  • "Cities feel squeezed by state legislature." A03
  • Indiana Stocks of Interest. A07
  • Obituaries. A07
  • Public Notices. A09
  • Adoption Special/Notices. A10
  • Commericial Real Estate. A10
  • Pets. A10
  • Regional Forecast. A12
  • "Colbert ups ante." B01
  • "Health care chief steps down." B01
  • "Peers disagree whether stabbing suspect bullied." B03
  • Top 10 Mutual Funds. B06
  • "The odd couple of Mad Men: Peggy and Don." B08
  • "Next Three." C02
  • "Haas leads, ex-champs close." C03
  • "Cup Rookie L Arson Relishes Challenge." C10
  • "Elbow problems often begin at young age." C10
  • Easter. D02
  • "More is not better here." D04
  • Crossword. E01
  • Horoscopes. E04

For some words, one of the following modifications was made to the source:

  • change in verb tense, e.g. bolts-->bolt
  • change in noun from plural to singular or vice versa
  • erasure across a phrase to form a new word, e.g. steps downàsown

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Oulipost 10: i am now neon

How can it be that we're a third of the way through Oulipost 2014?! For today's poetry adventure, we have the oulipo techique called SNOWBALL:
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.
In addition to the poem itself, I ran the title of the poem through this technique.

Reading these poems is fun and, for me, they're a quick way to get the creative fires going. If you're in need of some inspiration, head on over to the Found Poetry Review's snowball page and treat yourself to what the other Ouliposters have written!


image Alchemist-hp GNU free documentation license


            i am now neon

               a no. the mask today, 
               hunter,  becomes yourself. 
               hindsight highlights  
               controversy, estrangement
               inappropriate  reconciliation.

Poem sources

Indy Star 10 Apr 2014.
  • Bailey, Leslie. “Tanjerine will Overflow Your Senses.” N1
  • Barnett, Josh. “Former wrestler was one of the WWE’s most popular stars.” 1B
  • Buckner, Candace. “Role Reversal.” C4
  • Mitchell, Dawn. “Finding strength in Loss.” A1
  • Osterman, Zach. “Furor fading over Knight’s firing.” C1
  • Swiatek, Jeff. ‘On tap: Alaska’s Palin, Florida’s Rubio, Louisiana’s Jindal, country’s Alabama .” A1
  • Tuohy, John, Jill Disis, and Will Higgins. “Trapuzzana Slaying.” A1

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oulipost 9: Legacy

For Day 9 of Oulipost 2014, we're experimenting with the technique called HEADLINES (variation of Jean Queval’s “Cent Ons”), in which we compose a poem that is sourced from article headlines in the day's newspaper.

I created today's poem using a process called remix (discussed a bit after poem.)  Also, today's source is supposed to be exclusively from the Herald Times. However, in the name of full disclosure, I should say that I accidentally factored in 5 headlines from the Indy Star that were emailed to me. My blunder is detailed below in the Poem Sources section, if you're interested in such things. Anyway, instead of trying to figure out which words might have been sourced from those 5 lines, I'm going with the poem as it is in its current state. 

The other Ouliposters are also in full swing. Ouliposters span the globe, with a host of different and interesting newspapers at their disposal. They're a talented group of poets, so check out their poems if you get a chance! Here's a link to their Headline poems at Found Poetry Review.



a flight of cardinals swept into the city          a swell of red
    over the brown river

it marked the beginning          of a blind test
             biblical some called it
          a thirty-year loss of light

children are the reason why such warnings appear
children cast            in a creek   rippled red
                                      gushing with a killed hush

back then     we wailed like fatigued violins
                                                          green in our need
                 we were told when someone gifts you
      with water                                  they are testifying
                          to one way          out


today we weather      in a white valley               knowing
           stars can commission no spells
    they can only raise more questions

     the almanac told us once of the risk
       a backwater         future
                                                how spring is lost
   when we restrict vision             stem the flow of light

A note about the method I used:

In some of the headlines, a couple of the abbreviations were spelled out, e. g. WRV was changed to ‘White River Valley’.

The process I used was remix, in which I mixed and rearranged phrases and individual words chosen out of the headlines, as well as new words that were not in the headlines, but that were discovered by applying erasure to a word or phrase. The modifications to the source text could include one or more of the following:
  • change in verb tense, e.g. soaràsoaring
  • dropping of contractions, e. g. children’sàchildren
  • concatenation of whole words, e. g. in + toàinto
  • erasure within a word, e. g. backwater àback
  • erasure within the headline to form a new word,
    •  e. g.: while testifying àwhen

Poem sources

I'm listing all of the headlines that I selected to use when I started the poem this morning, even though it's highly likely there are some headlines from which I took no words at all for the poem.

The Herald Times [Bloomington, Indiana] 9 Apr 201 4. Web.

  • Associated Press. "Ten things to know today: April."
  • H-T Report. "Spring gardening."
  • Slaby, M. J. "Eating local is the future, urban farming advocate says."
  • H-T Report. "Daily weather almanac."
  • Erdody, Lindsey. "Sale brings I sixty nine related dispute over city's Tapp Road property to an end."
  • H-T Report."Civil Streets campaign kicks off."
  • Lane, Laura. "Lane restrictions at Walnut Street ramp."
  • Lane, Laura. "Commission seeks 'Eco-Heroes'."
  • Lane, Laura. "City sponsoring health, wellness fair."
  • Keck, Mary. "Parents learn about Internet risks."
  • Tonsing, Abby. "Greene County man found dead in creek ."
  • Keck, Mary. "Events to raise money for children's hospital."
  • Associated Press, "UConn buries Notre Dame to win 9th NCAA title."
  • H-T Report. "North sweeps past Brown county and Bedford North Lawrence ."
  • H-T Report. "South girls top no ten Columbus North, boys close second."
  • H-T Report. "Eagles soar past Cardinals, 4-1."
  • H-T Report. "Jeeps outslug White River Valley, 10-3."
  • Associated Press. "Indianapolis reaches agreement with panhandlers."
  • Associated Press. "Indiana to pay more for low-income child care ."
  • Carlson, B. "Letter: This is major."
  • H-T Opinion. "New vision will build future downtown in new directions."

I also (accidentally) folded into the mix 5 headlines that came from an email with the subject "Top 5: Exclusive selections for subscribers." I started work on this poem first thing, around 6 am. Apparently, I hadn't had enough coffee yet, because when I saw the email, I simply copied and pasted those headlines directly into the list of words available for me to use. It wasn't until after writing the poem, when I went back to document the sources, that I discovered that the 5 headlines were emailed to me from the Indy Star. [I'm now making a sad face here.]

Again, as with the Herald Times headlines, I'm citing these 5 Indy Star ones even though I might not have used any words from it. And since I took the headlines as-is from that email, I'm citing the email itself, instead of the newspaper: "Top 5: Exclusive selections for subscribers." Message to author. 9 Apr 2014. Email.

The following headlines were listed in the email:
  • "Controversial land deal raises new questions about Rep. Turner's nursing home interests."
  • "Kravitz on Pacers: Fatigue? I'm getting tired of hearing about it." 
  • "Broad Ripple gift store Chelsea's to close after 30 years."
  • "'Jesus Christ Superstar' features pop culture cast of biblical proportions."
  • "Teen faces murder charge in Nathan Trapuzzano slaying."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Oulipost 8: No Mere Lion

We're into Day 8 of  Oulipost 2014 and today's oulipo technique,called BEAUTIFUL INLAW (BEAU PRESENT), is a challenge!
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 (

While not explicitly stated in the directions, you can use only words that are found in your source newspaper. So, not only does the name come from the newspaper, every word you use must be in the newspaper as well. For example, even though VOLT can be formed from the name 'John Travolta', you can't use it in your poem if it isn't in the day's newspaper. Yikes!

I haven't had a chance to see what the other Ouliposters have written, but I'm looking forward to doing that next. You can take a peek at their Beautiful Inlaw poems at here at the Found Poetry Review site.


The name I'm using is one that appeared in the paper as part of a criminal trial. I won't print the actual name here, but will list the letters in the name:  a, e, g, h, i, l, m, n, o, r, s, t. In the Poem Sources section displayed after the poem, I included all of the articles I read to find the words, even though I'm not sure if I used a word from each of those articles.

No Mere Lion

Emma erases her entire era,
a million miles, a notion
more air than animal. She insists
on an arsenal as an asset.
At her helm, not a host of Isaiahs.
Rather, a nation of moons,
ornate Sirens she lists as sisters.
She’s a monsoon on a mission,
not the least lost. Her letters line
all inner moments near the North Star.
Reason at times arrests honor,
so she maintains her station alone, risen.

image Creative Commons

Poem sources

Indy Star 8 Apr 2014.
Disis, Jill. "Rap producer gets 75 years in slaying." A4
Higgins, Will. "Cashing in on Dillinger." A1
Kwiatkowski, Marisa. "Top-rated day cares can get bonuses." A1
Phillips, William. "Climate change wrong 'experts' quoted." A15
Price, Nelson. "Letterman’s ties to Indy remain strong."A13
Russell. Mark. "New IPS chief has high expectations." A13
Ryckaert, Vic. "Play Ball...Then Stay." A3
Sikich, Chris. "Tapping a wider market." A3
Smith, Erika D. "Restoring a building, preserving a neighborhood." A3
Star and news service reports. "Metro + State Roundup." A4
Swiatek, Jeff. "Pence set for trade trip to Germany." A3
Wang, Stephanie and Eric Weddle. "Teacher Ratings: True or False?" A1