Oulipost #29: CANADA DRY


 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.



Filed under Oulipost, Poetry

8 responses to “Oulipost #29: CANADA DRY

  1. You are going to be on the road TODAY?! Are you watching the weather channel, child?

  2. Oh, the poem. I love the first stanza. very cool imagery.

  3. Beth Ayer

    Well done. I am especially struck by “Who is appropriate?”

    • Thank you, Beth! *hugs* Thank you for your organization this month–yours and Jenni’s and Doug’s. It really must be like herding cats, dealing with 70+ poets, but I love what the group conjured out of newsprint over the last month.

  4. Great piece! I loved this one!

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