Oulipost 26–Belle Absente: Monarchs

for Chip Taylor, founder and director of Monarch Watch

Autumn: butterflies migrate, journey south. The forested uplands a quiet blizzard from
            Texas, Arizona, every key state where milkweed grows. 
Jouneyed wings cover acres. Wind blows and wings rustle quietly. Every butterfly a
           zoology experiment.
Tagged, tracked, numbered.  Threatened by change, drought, heat, freeze, they feed, fly,
           journey complex pathways, frequent valleys,
Subject to climate extremes, they shiver in cold, die in wet.  Oh, come back to Arizona quickly,
           reigning butterflies.


The outlaw in question is the name of the person (or subject) to whom the poem is addressed. Each line of the poem includes all the letters of the alphabet except for the letter appearing in the dedicated name at the position corresponding to that of the line: when writing a poem to Eva, the first line will contain all letters except E, the second all letters except V, and the third all letters except A.

Choose someone mentioned in your newspaper to whom to address your poem. Compose a beautiful outlaw poem following the procedure outlined above and using words sourced from your newspaper text.


I kept it short, for obvious reasons, and just used Chip’s first name.  No C in the first line, but every other letter of the alphabet is there.  No H in second. I started with a line from the story, modified it to fit, and kept going.  I stuck a few words that I liked on lines where they would fit, and worked sentences around them.  Note: Q words are especially hard to find, so I mined a couple of other articles just to get quickly and quiet. (I may have modified one or the other from adjective to adverb, or vice versa.)  Each line is so long it has to be wrapped, much longer lines than I usually write.


Bickley, Dan, ‘NBA Playoffs an Education for Players, Fans, Referees’, 26 April 2014, The Arizona Republic edition <http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/2014/04/26/nba-playoffs-education-players-fans-referees/8227877/&gt; [accessed 27 April 2014]
Career Builder, ‘How to Conduct a Video Interview’, The Arizona Republic, 26 April 2014 <http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/career/2014/04/26/conduct-video-interview/8224819/&gt; [accessed 27 April 2014]
Dungan, Ron, ‘Milkweed Could Boost Monarch Numbers’, The Arizona Republic, 26 April 2014, Online edition <http://www.azcentral.com/story/travel/2014/04/25/milkweed-boost-monarch-numbers/8183711/&gt; [accessed 27 April 2014]
#Oulipost  #BelleAbsente #BeautifulOutlaw #AZCentral #butterflies #milkweed #monarchwatch

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