Oulipost 18 (Take 2): Lo, Poor Ark

Lo, Poor Ark

Rue elf chief Zoe!  He led
a quorum for some war.
Soon, no grayest one offered to lead.

Why is it? Who?

If, too late, someone spoke gaes, sin,
he soon sprang as manna to ivy.

“Here be weald, mold, sod.  Go.
Dash thin stifling roads.
Hew rowan, ash, oaks, gum.”
The sap runs to the basin.

Our names chime as in death.
It is done.


“Spring marks the onset of longer days and the growing season, which means more food and shelter for animals in the wild. That’s why so many animals have their babies in the spring, said Grey Stafford, a spokesman for the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium in Litchfield Park.”



After reading the work of other Ouliposters, and following their discussion, I decided I was following the constraint much too tightly, which is why I wasn’t having any fun with it.  For example, I was stripping the vowels from individual words and then remaking them (Thursday into authorised, for example), instead of using the consonants from an entire sentence as a template.  So:  I stripped out the vowels, then worked my way through the string of consonants, making new words by adding vowels, but keeping the consonants strictly in order.  I had sap for my first word and started looking for trees, so I had a half-baked plan as I made words. Then I printed out my words, cut them up, and re-arranged them.  I may (or may not) have lost a few little words in the process. Little scraps of paper are slippery!



#Oulipost #NaPoWriMo #azcentral

Oulipost 18 – Homoconsonantism: War Hag

War Hag

Their war hag
swung on mountains,
to thy sacahuil.


Associated Press, ‘South Korea Ferry: Grief in Town of Students Missing’, The Arizona Republic, 18 April 2014, Online edition <http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/world/2014/04/17/south-korea-ferry-grief/7853539/&gt; [accessed 18 April 2014]


In this form, the sequence of consonants in a source text is kept, while all its vowels are replaced.


Not crazy about this one either.  I don’t think I will ever like the experimental methods that yield nonsense.  I like my work to at least hint at meaning, even if it is just a hint.  I like it when two words sort of vibrate against each other to tell you something different, the way blue and yellow in an Impressionist painting will tell you “green.” At least this time it yielded a sentence.   My source was the beginning of a sentence: “There were huge swings in emotions Thursday at the school’s auditorium.”

The closest I could get to a replacement word for auditorium was deuterium, so I dropped it.  Sacahuil is a variant spelling of zacahuil, a sort of giant tamale.  “Authorised” is a British spelling.

***FOR A POEM THAT WAS ACTUALLY FUN, SEE MY TAKE 2 FOR THIS PROMPT HERE: http://atreebythestream.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/oulipost-18-take-2-lo-poor-ark/ ***

#Oulipost #NaPoWriMo2014





Oulipost 17 — Haikuisation


Dusk on a spring day.
Earth, distant, rocky, liquid,
basks in the sweet spot.


After April, earth
gravitates toward stone. Water,
rainwater, desert.



Associated Press, ‘Astronomers Spot Most Earth-like Planet yet’, The Arizona Republic, 17 April 2014, Online edition <http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/17/astronomers-spot-most-earth-like-planet-yet/7828845/&gt; [accessed 17 April 2014]
Morrison, Kara G., ‘Value of Green Features Still Eludes Many Homebuyers’, The Arizona Republic, 17 April 2014, Online edition <http://www.azcentral.com/story/life/house-garden/2014/04/17/homebuyers-underwhelmed-green-features/7798679/&gt; [accessed 17 April 2014]


Select three sentences from a single newspaper article and “haiku” them.

#Oulipost #NaPoWriMo2014

Oulipost 16– Chimera: Untitled

insurgency chaos paralyzed ukraine victory in a  massive

Wednesday shortly after vehicles

weapons just outside the last government where forces

cities went his heroes on

medical welcome stuffed the Russia of the aggression



Associated Press, ‘Pro-Russian Gunmen Make Inroads in Eastern Ukraine’, The Arizona Republic, 16 April 2014, Online edition <http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/world/2014/04/16/pro-russian-gunmen-make-inroads-in-eastern-ukraine/7807563/&gt; [accessed 17 April 2014]

Associated Press, ‘Washington Mudslide Death Toll Hits 39’, The Arizona Republic, 16 April 2014, Online edition <http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/16/washington-mudslide-death-toll/7807383/&gt; [accessed 17 April 2014]

Nelson, Gary, ‘Alex Finter Is New Mesa Mayor; Scott Smith Era Ends’, The Arizona Republic, 16 April 2014, Online edition <http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/mesa/2014/04/16/alex-finter-new-mesa-mayor-scott-smith-era-ends/7791865/&gt; [accessed 17 April 2014]

Seftel, Howard, ‘Restaurant Gems: Haus Murphy’s in Glendale’, The Arizona Republic, 16 April 2014, Online edition <http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/dining/restaurants/2014/04/16/haus-murphys-restaurant-gems-glendale/7755353/&gt; [accessed 17 April 2014]


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.


The original sentence was from the Mayor of Mesa story.  “Alex Finter became Mesa’s mayor in a low-key ceremony shortly after noon April 16 just outside the seventh-floor office where Scott Smith put his stamp on six years that changed the face of the city.”  It was the lead paragraph.  I chose sentences from the centers of the other stories, looking for interesting words, but I kept them in the same order.  I’m not thrilled with this one, but it is a bit more interesting than the original story.  I did just leave out the numeral 16 instead of trying to replace it with some other noun.  The resulting sentence sounded a bit odd syntactically, so I put in line breaks at the odd syntax jumps, to give you a visual cue that something odd is going on.


#Oulipost #NaPoWriMo2014

Oulipost 15 — Prisoner’s Constraint: no new no



Woodfill, D.S., ‘Phoenix Fire Department Can’t Account for 850 Keys’, The Arizona Republic, 15 April 2014, Online edition <http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2014/04/14/phoenix-fire-missing-keys/7724577/&gt; [accessed 17 April 2014]


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.


I decided to take just a couple of words and play with them visually.  I didn’t like the results I was getting in MS Word WordArt, so I moved to GIMP and used the perspective tool to distort the text.  Then I played with gradients.  Then I moved it ArtRage and played with the palette knife, layer blending and stickers.  Yeah, I overdid it.

Oh, and this is a day late.  An emergency computer virus scan took up so much of the day yesterday that I fell asleep while it was running.  And I went on catching up on sleep for thirteen (count ‘em, thirteen) hours. 

#Oulipost #NaPoWriMo2014



Oulipost 14 — Column Inch: “Get Those Immigration Stories Out of the Paper”

 “Get Those Immigration Stories Out of the Paper”

13 Letter Writer, Surge, Politicians, Immigrants,Leaders!
Clean! Call!  All prem Questions! You can afford this Luxury OpinIon.

Jeep Values 4×4, Hardtop, 4 Europes, envy, lifted,
immigration w/ customs, OS communities w/ rights, 40,250 mi.

$300 Citizens, 10wks, interests & police, M/F, law trnd, bth believers $300.

Immediate question for problem parts right women,
seeking long contrasts, right women witness.
This right women system is inbound abuse
and requires no tolerance.
Looking for spry, energetic citIzens
with 2+ times recent right women desire.

Prescott (Northern Arizona) $50,000
“American Dream” host country,
1/2 tolerance, borders spring-fed United States,
all traditions, systems/laws.  No neighbors. $50,000.


Braukis, Helga, ‘Europe, U.S. Immigration Issues Are Worlds Apart’, The Arizona Republic, 14 April 2014, Online edition, section Opinion (Letter to Editor) <http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2014/04/13/europe-us-immigration-issues-different/7685611/&gt; [accessed 14 April 2014]


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.


I was unexpectedly inspired when I went browsing through my paper today and stumbled across a letter to the editor urging the paper to “assemble all the illegal-immigrant sob stories, slams on the Border Patrol, hit pieces on Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, coverage of many protest marches, and all your open borders/amnesty editorials all in one section” so that the reader, Dearel Friend, could “toss them out with the classifieds.”  I used the title from the letter.  Here’s the citation for it. 

Friend, Dearel, ‘Get Those Immigration Stories out of the Paper’, The Arizona Republic, 10 April 2014 <http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/letters/2014/04/10/get-those-immigration-stories-out-of-the-paper/7576351/&gt; [accessed 14 April 2014]

But I couldn’t use that piece as my source text, because it was dated 4/10/14. As you might guess, the paper has run some big stories on immigration issues recently, leading to several responses from readers. I found another letter to the editor dated today, by Helga Braukis.  It is listed as my source text.  I replaced all the nouns except a few to give flavor and context:  I kept “hardtop” and “mi.” in the Jeep ad, and Prescottt (No. Arizona) in the property ad.  And the final “No neighbors” was just too perfect to change.


#Oulipost #NaPoWriMo2014

Oulipost 13 — Epithalium: Bridal Venn

brie and daniel 2



Bang Showbiz, ‘Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan Get Married in Sedona’, The Arizona Republic, 13 April 2014, Online edition <http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/people/2014/04/13/wwe-brie-bella-daniel-bryan-married-sedona/7666409/&gt; [accessed 13 April 2014]


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


I wrestled with this one because my paper either does not do wedding announcements at all, or does not print them on Sundays.  I finally found a celebrity wedding in the online tradition, and worked this up.  All the words were in the source story, but I did not use all the words that were available with their names. Just ones that would overlap nicely in my diagram.


#Oulipost #NaPoWriMo2014