Ouliposter-Badge-Plum-300x300As a kind of farewell and wrapup, we’ve been asked to post an exit interview, discussing the Oulipost experience. It will take awhile still to absorb and understand Oulipo, I think, but that’s why I purchased the Oulipo Compendium. That will keep me going forever! And thanks so much to the Found Poetry Review, for pulling this all together! What a ride, as one of my fellow Ouliposters said!

So, what now and what’s next? Herewith:


Oulipost Exit Interview: Oulipost Ends Where the Work Begins

Question 1:

What happened during Oulipost that you didn’t expect? What are the best (or worst) moments for you?

Well, going in, I didn’t know a lot about Oulipo experimental writing, although I’d had a bit of an intro while taking Modern & Contemporary American Poetry with Al Filreis UPenn, through Coursera.

Some of the scariest sounding prompts turned out to be the most fun. And often the ones that sounded really quite straightforward turned out to be anything but.  And I never expected ever to write a poem with zombies in it, much less a zombie sonnet on a day that was not a sonnet prompt. It was Day 9, create a poem from headlines. Zombies just jumped out from the page and off I went. And I found the hardest ones were the ones with selected letters to be used or to be avoided. 

I also enjoyed the discussions with the other Ouliposters and their ideas, which often helped me get started in the mornings.

Question 3:

What does your street look like?

Aha! We encounter Oulipo even in the questions. Ok, I will do Q3 next then about something totally off-track.  My street is a cornucopia of cars and kids cavorting. No, actually it often looks like a parking lot. Mostly townhomes, and a bedroom community for Ottawa.  Everyone has more vehicles than their driveways and single garages will hold. But lovely in spring and fall when the trees, now nearly 20 years old, are either in blossom or in full fall colour.

Question 4:

Who is your spirit Oulipostian?  Portrait of Tristan Tzara I didn’t have one going in, and I am not sure I have one coming out. On occasion, John Beryman, on others Christian Bök, a Canadian poet who wrote Eunoia, which won the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize, which had 5 chapters, each using a single vowel.  Interesting concept, read more about him here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_B%C3%B6k Perhaps also Tristan Tzara, although not an Oulipolian, did create Dadaist poetry.


English: tristan Tzara Español: Tristan Tzara ...

English: tristan Tzara Español: Tristan Tzara pero en Español (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Question 5:

What are the top three poems you wrote during this project?

English: Photograph of Parliament Hill, Ottawa...

Ooh, not fair! I’m not sure I can narrow down to three. Day 7’s N+7 poem, Behind Closed Doors on Parliament Hill is one. Strangely enough, Day 19’s sestina poem, Zoo Variations. Of course, thanks are due again to Doug Luman and his wonderful tools, which made this a whole lot easier, and actually do-able in a single day. Probably the last one would be the Patchwork Quilt, In a Vacant Lounge in Canada, I Too sat Dowse and Wept,taking lines from all the poems written over the 30 days, simply because it does revisit some of the best lines from all the poems, but then again, there are the two Antonymy poems from April 22, Buy the Pigeon, Sell Carnivores and A Silence Out of Mid-Summer. Both these have a combination of sensical lines and nonsense. I think overall, I liked the ones that had interesting and startling juxtapositions, and were a bit or a lot outside my usual “coherence.”


A city pigeon

A city pigeon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Question 2:

What questions do you have for your teaspoons? What questions do your teaspoons have for you?

Questions for my teaspoons:



Teaspoons (Photo credit: eltpics)

Why don’t you hold more sugar?

Why is there only one of you in a set of measuring spoons, at least one for wet and another for dry?
Why are you almost always heaping when you are not scant?



Questions my teaspoons have for me: 

Why do you scoop around the slice of stale bread, the clay honeybear and the measuring scoop instead of moving them out of the way first?
Why don’t you use more jam and less oil, since we all have a sweet-tooth too?
Why do you keep us here in the dark when we really want to watch Big Bang Theory?


Teaspoon… (Photo credit: vanherdehaage)

Question 6:

What will you do next? 

Hoping to put together a regular submission plan (and implement it!) and to work on the three chapbooks/collections I have in process, including, now, the Oulipo ones. My title for that so far is Newspaper Clippings. And definitely, definitely doing more Oulipo! 

One of several versions of the painting "...

One of several versions of the painting “The Scream”. The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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