Oulipost #23: INVENTORY


April 23, 2014


The Prompt: Inventory is a method of analysis and classification that consists of isolating and listing the vocabulary of a pre-existing work according to parts of speech. Choose a newspaper article or passage from a newspaper article and “inventory” the nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, articles, etc. Bonus points for creative presentation of your final lists.


 It Marks the Spot…This Slippery Slope


 It Marks the Spot…


Space                                                                                              Pages

comments                                                                          letters

editor                                                                   reality

change                                                  screed

increase                                warming

letter                     time


fall                        letters

humans                              change

editor                                             errors

page                                                            correction

Humans                                                                   Change

Opinion                                                                                   Inaccuracy

…This Slippery Slope



see                 denying

refer                     blame

do                                keep

print                                   asserting

have                                          stating

wrote                                               causing

published                                                       caused

Announced                                                           Run.


Source: Bredhold, Wendy. “LETTER: Denying climate change is just ‘nonsense’.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 23 April 2014.

Notes: My first list is comprised of just the nouns in the article (excepting proper nouns). I wanted to see what associative connections one might make when all other parts of speech are excised. I liked the way these words were playing together and thought they’d make an interesting “shape” poem, so with some fiddling in Word and then a lot more fiddling with WordPress’ fidgety mechanisms, I settled on an x-shaped section.

The nouns remain in their original order, which worked out in a way that delighted me. I always suspected that nonsense is at the center of it all! If it doesn’t look like an X on some devices/browsers, well, I blame the wicked internet gremlins.

The second section of the poem contains the verbs, rearranged to fit the shape.


Read how other Ouliposters tackled this prompt here.



Filed under Oulipost, Poetry

16 responses to “Oulipost #23: INVENTORY

  1. Wonderful – (non)sense is at the heart of it all! Thanks for being bold enough to post so early. This prompt has puzzled me, even though I know that we can use them as a jumping off point.

  2. Ha! I love how you “found” that “nonsense is the center of it all!” I’m glad to see you back! I missed you and your posts. I figured you were busy, and hoped it wasn’t more flooding or other “natural” disasters!!!

  3. Hullo. Of course, Easter. You wouldn’t believe how quiet it is without your voice [and we’re not exactly a quiet bunch!].

    There are a bunch of WordPress people who would like a quick tutorial over on the group page, when you have time.

    Love what you did. I shall approach mine with some hope, now.

  4. Nicole

    um wow..The underline at the end really did it for me. Way to end it on a high note.

  5. am interested, more than any of the other prompts so far, to see how other oulipoets are handling this challenge. i love the X with the keystone word nonsense, matched in it’s command over the other words by Run at the very end. i am very fond of this list, i think. thank you!

  6. Pingback: Oulipoem 23: April 23 — Inventory… | Margo Roby: Wordgathering

  7. Reblogged this on Choose Your Own Adventure and commented:
    Jody Rich made his poem into a shape and it is therefore even more impressive than just words.

  8. This must have taken you forever to do! That is a fantastic set of nouns, nice selection of text.

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