Wednesday, November 14, 2007

OULIPO at last

On November 5, Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect gave us the weekly Monday Poetry Stretch. That week's challenge was for us to investigate and try out OULIPO forms. Check out Tricia's post for some links to various (and better) explanations.

In a nutshell, a bunch of writers and mathematicians started creating constraints for poetry-writing. More constraints are invented all the time. One constraint was is to exclude one or more letters; another is to substitute each noun in your poem with the noun 7 nouns away in your dictionary.

I braved the official OULIPO site (with the help of a translation tool, since I don't speak French) and discovered a constraint that translates as Monovocolism. To use this constraint, make sure every vowel in your poem is the same.

So here is my poem, created using the Monovocolism constraint. And a big thanks to Tricia for introducing me to all this. I don't think I'll be using it all the time, but the constraints definitely made me think more about my word choices, and noticing things like vowels may carry over to future poems.


weep wetness knee-deep

shelve the nerves
feed me legends
mend the tremble
reject the wretchedness

never meek
next get reckless
the new needs

emerge free
the best
the best me
ever edgeless

remember the emblem
breeze-bent elm tree
never kneel

the perfect defense


Tricia said...

All I can say is -- Wow! When you wrote that you were going to try this form, I wondered how you would ever pull it off. Great job!

sister AE said...

Thanks! I ended up pulling a list of words to work with, then using them sort of like I would with magnetic poetry, pushing them around to find something that meant something.

Cloudscome said...

"breeze-bent elm tree
never kneel

Mmm mmm mmm girl! Yes!

sister AE said...

Thanks, Cloudsome. Glad you like it.