Ouliposter-Badge-Blue-300x300Conclude the project by writing a poem that incorporates words and lines from all of your past 29 poems.

Sounds simple enough, till you try to distill 29 days of Oulipo into a single piece. Well, it’s a draft, as always, and rather fun to revisit the various ideas and images that inspired me or drove me crazy over the past month. I will miss the back-and-forth dialogue with fellow Ouliposters, but I received my Oulipo Compendium yesterday in the mail, all the way from Gloucester in the UK, so I’m looking forward to more of this, without the newspaper constraint. Hope you’ve enjoyed the poems. For more patchworks, please visit the Oulipost blog here: http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/blog/oulipost-30-patchwork-quilt/





Winter, mid snowman. City parks bare, a soundscape of static and feedback.
This boggy tip of Newfoundland’s northern landscape, sullen winds hang low,
a cloud of irritation and icy Arctic sky send shivers through indigenous
eyes-locked people. Diamonds locked earth deep beneath limestone fissures,
ET dumped in a hole in Alamagordo. Hogs Back Falls aren’t behavioural.


Hog's Back Falls

Hog’s Back Falls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cheesemakers experimenting.Latest gastronomical experiment: crickets.
A bad-police-car idea to the letter. Check germ level. Net expert levels set.
The diaper had a lot to say, the little packet of cheese too. Saint’s jawbone,
several teeth, the finest strained carrots the size of garbage can lids—
the martyr’s blood liquifies. All assemble into a gelatinous creature,
a Frankenstein’s monster that never comes to life.

Promotional photo of Boris Karloff from The Br...All puffball poke written in weird.
Everyone is guilty of something.
Lest we forget, it’s all about the tulips.

Tall chaw-down mothers run up, up, up, up, Stones-style, bruises,
bumps and beers, along the northern peak outside Belfast,
in shades of moral greys and déjà vu, cinctured with peanut.
Armies win wars, women, and even ice cream in various versions.
Good food and dog excrement blended up together.

Buy pigeons, sell carnivores. They’re going to give us ponchos.
We are on the cusp of the gaffe sizzle of Ottawa, mope-up laws of
fissure-written autobiography, further perfection of extreme evil
in 35 cries and as one dance.

Cigarette lighters mask the toothbrush lumber. Backyards have gone barren.
Inuit seals hunt zombie MPs. Most hunt members of the rodent species,
spring-loaded impalas, barcode wobbly-legged zebras.
Chickens search for grubs through cow pats.  Aimless now; it was aimless then.
Savannah scrubland trees never bend to hear a river, ancient wisdom
taught them music in the soil. Dust of a life cannot kill the crocus.
We cannot remain the seed. If an ash tree falls in your forest, it falls on you.

 The conflicted emotions, the shell-shock job of simply loving someone who dies.
To die, the agonizing job of suicides. Death isn’t inside-out water sieves or

sand dunes, the subsurface shock factor, depressed friend gone to
the dark side: a long suicide attempt involving pills and knives and bleach.
All puny sorrows nuanced; the subsequent overshadowed, insignificant.

Puppet dinosaurs, tiny sweating puppet people and sprawl of drunken louts
know when to take this step. All the heavy stuff happens in music.
It is all the breath that knows practising three hours a day at too steep
an angle to learn more about swooping can rob you of your remnants.
The clinical madness of the occult debris affects 80% of beachcombers,
silliness from trying to make the status quo look rational.

 I tried to come in with a few more lingos. I tried to come in with a smile.

CAS, April 30, 2014


Portrait of Buffalo Bob Smith and Howdy Doody:...

Portrait of Buffalo Bob Smith and Howdy Doody: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Photo credit: State Library and Archives of Florida)


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Ouliposter-Badge-Plum-300x300The 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.”)  Be creative, and write a poem sourced from your newspaper that sounds like it’s been Oulipo-ed, but hasn’t.


English: Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

English: Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, so what to make of that? Of course, there is a restriction right off: sourcing text from the newspaper. That at once makes it at very least a found poem. I decided to simply go with that, taking lines from the paper that appealed to me, and assembling them more or less in the order found, but I did not maintain that as a constraint at all, since I went back and forth between articles to choose my lines. Here and there I added a word or words that were not from the source, but which I knew were somewhere in the paper. I changed one tense from past to present. This is also more or less a remix. Read my fellow Ouliposters here: http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/blog/oulipost-29-canada-dry/

All the Heavy Stuff   

A little midnight car surfing
through those Rocky Mountains at night
forty years on the road, hard miles and
calloused fingertips, Canadian-tough:
a police car bad idea to the letter.

A backhoe shovel plunges into the desert:
14 dump trucks loaded with Atari, ET
dumped in a hole in Alamagordo.

All the heavy stuff happens in the music,
every single detail pays homage
to Robert Johnson and Hank Williams.
combine the two—
That’s rock ‘n’ roll.

CAS, April 29, 2014


Spears, Tom, Car surfers and spectators ticketed in Gatineau, Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 29, 2014 (C3)   

Robb, Peter, Memories of Canada, Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 29, 2014 (C5)   

Pileci, Vito, Pop culture fan unearths cache of Atari games, Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 29, 2014 (C3)







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Ouliposter-Badge-Plum-300x300A text in which each word has one letter less than the preceding one, and the last word only one letter. From your newspaper, select a starting word, and then continue adding words of decreasing length from the same source article or passage. Challenge yourself further by only using words in order as you encounter them in the text.


I was sufficiently challenged by just finding the words that led down to a single character, and took liberties with that, as my choices were a or I, and neither worked well, so I resorted to numbers, and in at least one case stole it from a longer one.


Once I had my source text, I removed all extraneous characters and spaces so I could run it through a tool that sorted by word length. It was getting confused by the commas and quotation marks.  I then reviewed the list and calculated the letter counts for each group.


Here are my resulting snowballs, three of them, each beginning with a 13-letter word:









Jellyfish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jellyfish Float





Underwater Rainbow.

Underwater Rainbow. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diving Into the Veins




CAS, April 28, 2014


 Spears, Tom, Finding Earth’s huge water reservoir, Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 28, 2014 (B3)


Spears, Tom, Swimming “through the veins of Mother Earth”, Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 28, 2014 (B3)


 Neergaard, Lauran, Unique floating lab showcases ‘aliens of the sea’, Ottawa Citizen, April 28, 2014 (A6)




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Ouliposter-Badge-Blue-300x300Create a 14-line sonnet sourced from lines from your newspaper that is divided according to the first five digits of the irrational number pi – that is, into stanzas of 3, 1, 4, 1 and 5 lines. As with the preceding sonnet assignment (see April 12) you may interpret “sonnet” as formally or as loosely as you wish.

Source material for today comes from the Life section of the newspaper, selected lines remixed. Originally I intended to mix all three pieces into one poem, but there was too much left over so I created two sonnets instead. As well as conforming to the line counts per stanza, these are irrational in choice of line length and the image mixes too!

To view other Ouliposters’ work, please visit the Oulipost blog here.

Irrational Anthems

Irrational Anthems (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My two sonnets:

Update Your Status

Our latest gastronomical experiment, crickets.
A clever tweet, a shrewd hashtag going viral.
Retweets.Virtual call and response.

I fall prey to the numbers.

Disorder. Reaction, these mini versions of myself
more insignificant than nothing: unfriend, and block.
These are my own demons redefining the community,
an ever-growing web of ethereal ego boost.

Quasi-friends as cutthroat as high school cliques.

This social media echo chamber,
real humans, not only eerie presences.
Not being asked to the big dance
has distorted our collective sense of self-worth.
The social media cycle continues.

I Dozed Off for a While

I knew this would happen, my suitcase never first in the baggage claim area.
A cloud of irritation, the diaper had a lot to say, the little packet of cheese, too,
spooning the finest strained carrots the size of garbage-can lids.

The moment, captured down to the silk tassel on a perfume bottle of

delicate blossoms and blowsy blooms,
euphoria, a little from the grass, a little from the soil,
an element of synaesthesia, transposed into notes
every shape, every colour, every music.

Intimacy with all the raw materials, camomile, violet, cherry-blossom.

Father ran through all his routines, he was piercingly loud.
He ignored the withering glares from people passing,
packing about 75 bags for a flight
that wasn’t going to happen.
It was all quiet when I woke up.
CAS April 27, 2014

Pi: The Transcendental Number

Pi: The Transcendental Number (Photo credit: tj.blackwell)


Gilsdorf, Ethan, Looking for “Likes” in all the wrong places, Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 26, 2014 (K1, K5)

Fashion page Postmedia News, Bloom Sayers Ottawa Citizen print edition April 26, 2014 (K6)

Atkinson, Nathalie, a little from the grass, a little from the soil Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 26, 2014 (K4)

Ward, Bruce, Fly and cry: Screaming children on airplanes can bring out the worst in everyone, Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 26, 2014 (K1, K5)


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