Saturday, May 3, 2014

Oulipost Exit Interview: Oulipost Ends Where the Work Begins

We're at the end of National Poetry Month and the Oulipost 2014 adventure. Let me tell you, it was some kind of wonderful ride, one that I wanted to go on for at least another month.

To close out the project, all of the Ouliposters have been asked to complete an exit interview. Here is mine.

[Update 5/10/2014: All of the draft Oulipost poems that I wrote have now been taken down so that I can work on revision. Gratitude to those who stopped by to read them.]

 What happened during Oulipost that you didn’t expect? 
 What are the best (worst) moments for you?

I didn't expect to fall in love with specific letters of the alphabet. Right now, I am in love with W,  thanks to the tautogram.

I didn't expect a set of arbitrary constraints, i.e., the oulipo techniques, to liberate as much creative energy as it did.

I expected the language that I found in the local newspapers to be more interesting and textured. Related to that: I didn't realize how often mid-westerners use the word 'just'.

The best moments for me are when:
  • the sun rises
  • i read a breathtaking or hilarious or clever or madly creative poem, such as the ones by the other Ouliposters. They inspire me.
  • i am writing
  • i am writing and techniques/ideas snap in place, has if machined for my idiosyncrasies. For Oulipost, specifically the tautogram, univocalism, antonymy, and homosyntaxism. 
  • i laugh
  • those fleeting moments when i am centered
  • the rare times i can see the Milky Way
  • i am together with my family, natural and extended and found

 What does your street look like?

I live on a rural road with a bend and some hills, potholes on one side and new blacktop on the other. Much in the way of dogs running down the middle, some feral, and a fox or two. Wild turkeys scuttle across, turkey buzzards feast on the edge. Banded by woodlands, punctuated by a scattering of houses, trailers, abandoned RVs and boats, and family farms with donkeys, goats, sometimes ostrich, cattle with beautifully curved horns. And on rare occasion, a majestic albino deer and his family can be spotted grazing along the side.

 Who is your spirit Oulipostian?

My spirit Oulipostians are Jenni BakerBeth AyerMarty Elwell, and Doug Lumanthe editors at Found Poetry Review who thought of and provided everything, from the vision of the project to the planning to the management/administration/structure to the practical and technical support/expertise (website, social media strategy, press releases, blog troubleshooting, tools!), all the while inspiring and encouraging the seventy+ participants...and who also then participated in the project, writing their wonderful poetry.

 What are the top three poems you wrote during this project?

I'm still changing my mind on what my top three poems are. However, the three poems I enjoyed writing the most were the sestina, oulipo epithalamium, and Canada Dry.

 What questions do you have for your teaspoons?
 What questions do your teaspoons have for you?

Teaspoons, why will you not teach me to play spoons?

Nancy, are we spoonerisms?

 What will you do next?


I plan to revise one, maybe two, of the poems using the source text, i.e., the local newspaper for the day the poem was written.

Of the remaining poems, I also will try to revise those that seem salvageable, but will probably revise them away from found text. For most of the poems I wrote in April, I don't believe revising them using the original sources would result in any improvement, given my own limitations and the limitations of the source text that I used. Of course, I might not be able to make any improvements using non-found text, either :) But, in this case at least, I believe I'll have a better chance at improving the first draft.

As for the poems that I don't revise, those will go into my growing collection of recycled poems.


I want to apply the Oulipost techniques on a different newspaper or other source, for a new set of remix poems, some of which I hope will come together as a chapbook or as a section in a full-length manuscript.

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