Oulipost #8: Beautiful In-law (Beau Present)


April 8, 2014

The Prompt: Select a name from one of your newspaper articles, famous or not. Compose a poem using only words that can be made from the letters in that person’s name. For example, if you selected “John Travolta,” you may only use words that can be made from the letters A, J, H, L, N, O, R, T and V.

The use of web-based tools is highly encouraged to help uncover different words that can be made from your letters of choice. One tool you might consider is the Scrabble Word Finder.

The name I chose was Marge Gianopoulos, giving me access to: A, E, G, I, L, M, N, O, P, S and U.  After writing it, I noticed some people questioning whether or not the words themselves should come from the newspaper article(s), but the prompt itself says absolutely nothing about that (and it honestly didn’t even occur to me), so I’m sticking with my fun trek through the Scrabble word-finder’s lists in search of a poem I might actually include in a future manuscript.  *grin*


A Mage’s Game


Amusing leaping impulse,

sampling angel animus/anima—


a pleasing gasoline.

Lesion gleams, impels images, man,

opens sage’s lips, mauls Luna’s loins.


Poems lie.


Imps singing

simple slogans, alone,

lines as names,

unsealing golems.


Source: Youth First. “Keep Prom Night Safe.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 8 April 2014.


Speaking of manuscripts, some Ouliposters have been tossing around the idea of collecting their month’s work into chapbooks. I’ve been on a bit of an arrangement kick, putting all of my material together for my inevitable MFA thesis, so I had a template handy in Word to copy/paste my Ouliposts to-date into a chapbook arrangement for fun, and the results are…weird. Nine pages worth of poems, three pages worth of MLA-style bibliographies for the sources cited. Even if this never becomes a chapbook, it’s going to be interesting to see if that 3-1 trend continues for the rest of the month!

Read how other Ouliposters tackled this prompt here.



Filed under Oulipost, Poetry

6 responses to “Oulipost #8: Beautiful In-law (Beau Present)

  1. I love your beau present even if it doesn’t use the newspaper words. I wish I would let myself step outside the constraints sometimes too. Trying to mine the paper adds hours that I would rather spend making better poetry I think!

    • Do so! The playbook encourages us to modify each prompt to our own personal style, and after a weekend without internet I was feeling stress enough trying to get four out in one day! 🙂

  2. Beth Ayer

    Love it Jody! “unsealing golems…”
    This is fun to read over and over.
    Actually, I used the scrabble words rather than the newspaper words as well. I really enjoyed that technique.

  3. “Poems lie:” – you are giving away our secrets! 😉 That whole last stanza is just great.

  4. Pingback: Oulipost Exit Interview | Jody Rich ~ poetry fueled by cold coffee

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