Tag Archives: Oulipost

Oulipost #4: Fibonacci (Variation)


April 4, 2014

The Prompt: In a Fibonacci sequence, each term is the sum of the two terms immediately preceding it; typically with 1 as the first term: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5,8, 13, 21, 34, 55 and so on.

Select an article from your newspaper and create a poem using the words that correspond with the numbers in the sequence. Your poem will take the form of first word, first word, second word, third word, fifth word, eighth word, thirteenth word, etc. You can continue until you’ve run out of words in your article or until you’re happy with the poem’s conclusion.

A common variation is to avoid repeating the first word.


Hiring went

into deep winter

the key


temporary survey.

Hiring total



And Sales Are Up

J.C. Penney is that magic

in-store partnership

in/out launch

associated, also…


She’s Working the Steps

The past

couple weeks

an ugliness/fury

to         {allegedly high}

that stipulation area.


Take That, Media

The Obama administration

Thursday creation

Communications: the operation


it (media)

as official

chairman said,




The Bend in River

will Jazz the public,

Tinker,             Edward,



The Good Old Days

Long before was fine–

green, especially in company

at the website, granddaughter.



Rugaber, Christopher. “Better weather may have lifted job growth in March.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 4 April 2014.

D’innocenzio, Anne. “Penney teams up with Elle Macpherson for lingerie.”

Staff. “PARKER: Criticism of First Lady worsens again.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 4 April 2014.

Arce, Alberto. “White House defends ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 4 April 2014.

Staff. “Local brass and Joshua Academy singers join UE musicians in Tinker Memorial concert.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 4 April 2014.

Antlfinger, Carrie. “Milwaukee group wants to buy Pabst Blue Ribbon.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 4 April 2014.



These were surprisingly fun to do, and easy thanks to Doug Luman’s Ouliposcripts (http://oulipost.douglasjluman.com/oulipostools/ ), but newspaper articles tend to be fairly short. Nothing wrong with short poems—I love Haikus/Senryus—but I had some time to kill, and wanted to see what relationship(s) might develop between multiple poems generated from the same day’s news. I found that getting jiggy with punctuation and spacing/line breaks was helpful for this exercise!

Read how other Ouliposters tackled this prompt here.



Filed under Oulipost, Poetry

Oulipost #3: Definitional Lit


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

or implement,

assumed impersonal

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,

or inhaling).

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,

or opposition.


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.

Definitions: http://www.merriam-webster.com/

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.



Filed under Oulipost, Poetry

Oulipost #2: Lipogram

Oulipost #2: Lipogram






From today’s FPR blog prompt: A lipogram is a text that excludes one or more letters of the alphabet. The ingenuity demanded by the restriction varies in proportion to the frequency of the letter or letters excluded. For this initial exercise, you will compose a poem using only words that can be formed from letters that are NOT found in the title of your newspaper. For example, if you are working with the Washington Post, you must avoid using words that contain the letters A, G, H, I, N, O, P, S, T and W.
The excluded letters (and ampersand) for my paper were those contained within: COURIER & PRESS. So, the only vowel I have access to is A (and sometimes Y), and every word has to come from articles in the newspaper…ouch. For anyone playing along, I highly recommend this lipogram tool as a sanity-saver: http://oulipost.douglasjluman.com/oulipostools/




Jay by Day


By day, a naval man,

a wall. Half tank!


By dawn, all talk.

A walk-away Jay,


and by May,

an Amy. (Baby, that walk!)


Matt, halfway mad,

had a hand,

and a fatal bat.

That dawn, Amy fall flat.


Law man, all balky, want data?

Want a “why?”

Want a ball gag?



Associated Press. “10 Things to Know for Today.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Associated Press. “Northwestern Indiana factory site may lure Illinois company.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Associated Press. “South Bend tower tenants eager for repair plans.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Baumann, Lisa and Valdes, Manuel. “Waters recede, helping search for mudslide victims.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Faiez, Rahim. “Blast kills 6 at Afghan Interior Ministry compound.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Gellar, Adam. “Deep water search for jet could turn on robot subs.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Goldenberg, Tia. “Israel moving forward with settlement homes.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Gordon, Marcy. “New CEO Barra faces tough task in shedding old GM.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Henao, Luis Andres. “President cautious as 8.2 quake kills 5 in Chile.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Jakes, Lara. “American spy’s release would be high-stakes gamble.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Lang, Derrik J. “Artist plants fake Bieber CDs in LA stores.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Nuckols, Ben. “Scandal-weary voters boot DC mayor from office.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Smith, Drew. “Expectant father fatally shot while on routine walk in Indy.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Talmadge, Eric. “Pyongyang opens marathon to tourist-runners.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.

Thomas, Colleen. “Kaczmarski’s slam leads Aces hit parade against SIUE.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 2 April 2014.


Read how other Ouliposters tackled this prompt here.


April 2, 2014 · 9:07 am

Oulipost #1: Quote Cento







Digital Welcome Mats


The idea of sharing in the old days was

Come over to my house

and look at my slideshow, and now

it’s all posted online. It’s trying to get past this laundry list

approach to advertising the destination—


Come here because we have this,

this, this and this

and that may not mean anything

to anybody. What do you take home?

…mostly, it’s stories.


We’re trying to find touchpoints

to interact with, to reach

and to influence potential visitors.

We can get people to stay in our hotels

and do attractions there


and do attractions here.

The visitors really don’t care

about this border.

I wouldn’t mind seeing them

livening that up a little bit.


[ Source: Beilman, Elizabeth. “Southern Indiana tourism group plans more social media push.” courierpress.com. Evansville Courier & Press. Web. 1 April 2014.  ]


National Poetry Month has begun, and today’s Oulipost prompt was a quote cento. Here’s the prompt, quoted from the Found Poetry Review blog:

When composing a cento, poets take lines from existing poems (traditionally without any alterations) and patch them together to form a new poem. Today, create a cento using only quotes referenced in newspaper articles. For example, if a newspaper article contained the line “It was a tragedy,” commented Detective Smith, the line, “It was a tragedy,” would be available for you to use in your poem. While you can’t change anything within the quotes themselves, you may choose to break a longer quote in half or use just part of a quote as needed.


  • Purist? Challenge yourself to write your cento using only complete quotes (sentences) as they appear in your articles.
  • Add an additional constraint by challenging yourself to use only quotes sourced from a single article, single newspaper page or single newspaper section.

Read how other Ouliposters tackled this prompt here.


Filed under Oulipost, Poetry


This pre-NaPoMo assignment was to compose a poem using unintentional lines of iambic pentameter found in one’s newspaper (or practice source). Blank verse is poetry written in regular metrical but unrhymed lines, almost always iambic pentameters. More background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blank_verse


Please Stay Tuned for the Weather

If someone does pop news at 8 o’clock,
it’s not their first connection to the world.

We didn’t sit down and design a show
for filthy lucre and that lofty fame

to reinforce the letter of my friend,
the benefits of an associate,

or talk whenever possible about
the rudiment of traffic safety laws

again with the belief that constitutes
a better way might be to pass out food.

[Source: Evansville Courier & Press 03/14/14, from the following articles: The Weather Channel reimagines morning; EDITORIAL OTHER VIEW: Scooter registration likely to improve safety; LETTER: Student, community benefits from investment in HCC education; LETTER: Krauthammer after facts, not popularity; LETTER: McConnell should put down gun, focus on real issues]

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Oulipost Playbook

Oulipost Playbook

So, now we have this tantalizing list, hinting at the Oulipost assignments. It looks like a fun and challenging range of–oh, wait…we meet again, Sestina, my old enemy…

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March 11, 2014 · 6:08 pm




Oulipo – Ouvroir de littérature potentielle (or “workshop of potential literature”) is a group of mostly French-speaking writers and mathematicians that seek to create works using constrained writing techniques. 
For National Poetry Month this year, The Found Poetry Review has recruited over 80 poets from the furthest reaches of the interwebs to participate in a poem-a-day project, beginning on April 1st. We bold, brave, possibly masochistic Ouliposters will be using our daily local newspapers as a source text to write poems based off of daily prompts.

You can locate Oulipost on twitter at #oulipost, and I’ll be posting the prompts here alongside the poems they’ve generated, if anyone wants to “play along at home” using their own local newspapers.  🙂



I’m thrilled to discover which prompts will be given, and look forward to seeing what divergent work emerges from each one as the various newspapers coincide with each poet’s unique approach to creating found language poetry.


The randomness of the source material is a little daunting, and I’m a little apprehensive at the prospect of local headlines making their way into poems. I’m trying to remember that the source text is just that: source text to be reforged into something new.


I’ve written a number of found language poems, most recently using prompts discovered on the Found Poetry Review website. I enjoyed ransacking my bookshelf and giving various books the Fibonacci/Golden Ratio treatment from their December 19, 2013 prompt ( http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/blog/poetry-prompt-the-golden-ratio/ ), and was surprised what came out of such divergent sources as an Experimental Psychology textbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide (3.5, of course), The Leatherman’s Handbook, and Uta Hagen’s ‘Respect for Acting.’


I’ll be using the Evansville Courier & Press.


Nancy Chen Long is my Spirit Oulipan—her chapbook, Clouds As Inkblots For the War Prone (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013) is an inspiring collection of found language poetry, and reading it gave me a much greater appreciation for found language poetry in general.

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