April 29, 2014
The Prompt: The name of this procedure is taken from the soft drink marketed as “the champagne of ginger ales.” The drink may have bubbles, but it isn’t champagne. In the words of Paul Fournel, who coined the term, a Canada Dry text “has the taste and color of a restriction but does not follow a restriction.” (A musical example is Andrew Bird’s “Fake Palindromes” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pqYTTW4hKk&feature=kp)
Be creative, and write a poem sourced from your newspaper that sounds like it’s been Oulipo-ed, but hasn’t.
Firefighters are Still at the Scene
The War hopscotched south,
as might a storm. Swallowed people up,
people whole, people
by the millions. It really did, if you want to know
the truth. Hollowed out communities. Enough.
The goal: stay alive until there’s no one left.
Who is appropriate?
Do we even have to ask?
Black. Brown. Poor people of whatever hue.
The Man said facts are an inconvenience.
Never let them get in the way.
He never did.
Butler, Hunter. “STUDENT VOICES: Scenes from your favorite book.”
Morris, Rick. “COMMUNITY COMMENT: Letter-writer blindly follows liberal agenda.”
Pitts, Jr., Leonard. “PITTS: One nation with liberty and justice for some.”
Sainz, Adrian. “UPDATE: Tornadoes tear through South, killing 11.”
Notes: This prompt was somewhat confusing; still, confusion is as good a place to begin as any, especially on a morning when the coffee has yet to kick in and I’m facing four hours on the interstate to and from Louisville to hunt down a book which Amazon seems to have mistakenly shipped to an alternate dimension instead of Evansville (which, admittedly, can feel like some bizarro-version of reality at times…). I went with a faux-quote cento vibe, rearranging portions of quotes phrases and applying erasure.
I considered trying a bit of antonymy, especially with some choice phrases from a letter which asserted “the left are vile and insidious people with radical agendas and damned be anyone who opposes them,” but I figure the author’s words and overall tone are clear–they are what they are. My “radical agenda” today is to create poetry. If this individual considers that “vile and insidious,” so be it. I won’t be losing any sleep, but I am under absolutely no obligation to be silent for his convenience. The open road awaits.
Read how other Ouliposters tackled this prompt here.