Oulipost Exit Interview

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

I just moved to the Phoenix area, so I wasn’t familiar with the papers.  I learned that the largest paper is much less conservative than I expected it to be.  Perhaps it just seems less conservative by contrast with the news this month (Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the Feds, Donald Sterlings now-famous racism, etc.)   There were several fires and shootings during the month, and two stories of dog attacks.

I learned that my own poetic voice (or at least, my sense of what that voice is), can survive writing under a moderate restraint (like the sestina, cento, blank verse, or sonnet) but it gets lost under severe restraints.

I learned that I really am capable of spending hours a day on poetry, sitting down in the morning with no idea what I will write, and finishing the day with a completed poem.

So:  the worst moments for me were probably the Prisoner’s constraint, where I selected two words out of the tiny handful of choices, and did something visual with them, and homoconsonantism, where the only word I could come up with for the last few consonants was “sacahuil.”  (It’s a sort of giant tamale.)

What does your street look like?

The evening wind rattles
the palm leaves

along my street, cooler
and more refreshing
than a sauna.

Who is your spirit Oulipostian?

Margo Roby!  She not only has followers, but she has followers writing OuLiPoLian poetry!  She blogs at margoroby.com/.

She also wrote some great poems during Oulipost.

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

Oh shoot. I can’t narrow it down to three.  I have four favorites.  I will list some “also-rans” in another post.  My favorites are the ones where I sound the most like myself…though somewhat more surreal.

Cento: It’s all about Resistance

Sonnet: Holy Week Horoscope

Sestina: Migration

and finally:  the Patchwork Quilt poem, titled Coyote and the War Hag.


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

What do you say to one another in the drawer, spooned together for the night?  What do you say to the knives?

My teaspoons want to know why I dipped honey from the jar tonight with the tines of a fork.


What will you do next?

I am working on putting together some chapbook and submitting individual poems.  I am continuing to write, and will probably continue to use some of the constraints I learned (or will make up my own).  Writing without found poetry constraints now seems intimidating rather than liberating.  I mean — where will I find words?




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