The prompt: Select a single sentence from a newspaper article. Replace each meaningful word in the text [verb, noun, adjective, adverb] by its dictionary definition. Repeat this treatment on the resulting sentence, and so on, until you’ve had enough! Note that after only two such treatments with a relatively compact dictionary, even a two-word sentence can produce an accumulation of 57 words.
My sentence: “Both teams had chances to take the lead late in the match.”
The one as well as the other
group of people
who work together as draft animals,
harnessed to the same vehicle
purposeless determiners of unaccountable happenings–
the more likely indications
in the haphazard course of events.
To move against (as an opponent’s piece in chess)
or remove from play.
To get possession of (as fish or game)
by killing or capturing.
To partake of. To copulate with.
To receive into one’s body (as by swallowing, drinking,
To put oneself into (as sun, air, or water)
for pleasure or physical benefit.
To transfer into one’s own keeping.
As a vanguard, the act (or privilege) of playing first
in a card game,
in a dramatic production,
the course of a rope from end
to end. A margin,
or measure of advantage or superiority
remaining after the due, usual,
or proper time to fit together
(or make suitable for fitting together).
To flip or toss (coins) and compare exposed faces.
To set in comparison. To set in competition,
A person or thing equal or similar to another,
one able to cope with another.
Source: Associated Press. “Green makes US debut in 2-2 draw with Mexico.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 3 April 2014.
So, common consensus is, this exercise is simultaneously fun and confusing, and all the cool kids are writing behind-the-scenes bits about how they finagled it. So, for what it’s worth, here’s mine:
I started with the sentence, “Both teams had chances to take the lead late in the match.” My hardbound dictionary is sixty miles away, so off to http://www.merriam-webster.com/ I went. I wanted to include something from each important word’s definition, in order. “Both” just led to the first line, while the super-meaty word of “take” later in the sentence fueled multiple lines. Hell, a definitional poem could be written entirely from “take.” I took to heart one of the guiding principles of the Oulipost Project: “Make the rules your own. Think of each day’s prompt as a general guideline. While you’ll want to make sure your piece at least loosely adheres to the prompt, feel free morph the guidelines and add/remove constraints as you find personally challenging.”
In other words, have fun Make it your own. Put your own spin on it, and play!
Read how other Ouliposters tackled this prompt here.