Ouliposter-Badge-Blue-300x300In Oulipian usage, antonymy means the replacement of a designated element by its opposite. Each word is replaced by its opposite, when one exists (black/white) or by an alternative suggesting antonymy (a/the, and/or, glass/wood).

Original: To be or not to be, that is the question.
Antonymy: To not be and to be: this was an answer.

Select a passage from your newspaper source text to complete this exercise.

To view a variety of Antonymy poems today, visit the Oulipost Blog here:


So, at first read, how hard can this be? As it turns out, it’s a bit tricky. Remembering to change negatives to positives and past to present, and vice versa, as well as simply doing the antonyms for nouns made it easy to miss some. However, it  was one of the challenges I really liked, and I ended up doing both of the two pieces I chose as alternatives. I hadn’t been sure which would work, had intended to combine them, then found enough for two poems.

(I can’t decide which I prefer, so I present them in the order I wrote them.)

A Silence Out of Mid-Summer


At an end was not a silence
the loss, a denial.
One doesn’t repulse.
You last hated far from
anywhere, before 2014.
You are not forty and fifty.
Death isn’t inside-out water sieves
or sand dunes.


Sand dunes in Morocco

Sand dunes in Morocco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I never sit under a water sieve
nor step out of a dune.
Everything, and sorrow
unfairly complicated or unfairly sad
outside a meadow unfenced in scrub.


Losses don’t halt neglect.
You never see in front of you
but you never think you are sad.
You always think you are an outsider.
You aren’t a woman without the high silence,
indifferent not to be the opera diva,
not to speak classical arias before classical
is popular. You are that bad,
and give up the dabbler apathy.


Nobody that detested an ignorance
about assembly-line painting, the curse
which ended in a silence out of mid-summer.
43 above in here, South of 44, dead outside the attic
miserable outside a stranger’s skeleton.

It is aimless now or it was aimless then.

CAS April 22, 2014


Buy the Pigeon, Sell Carnivores


Plug in a softener after you return from work.
Uncreative unplanned waste, absolute underground cool
has fallen 980 amperes Fahrenheit. Deserts were alkaline
or equatorial water shoes were frozen. Red waste was
less conservative, moderate red questions to the inside towns
plausible, and walking the dog, out-of-control disconnect.


Waste gorging. Buy the pigeon, sell carnivores,
fertilize clay or poop out isolated vegetables,
dying under usual seascapes, water less simply avoided
as clumsy claws. Pigeons aren’t noisier and dearer,
nor more dangerous to mineral fertilizers, but gather loss
pesticides as well as diamond inhalations. Individuals
won’t unionize, but leisure participations were maxed out.


Plastic tree-wasting dilemma. Extract 4 reams of A10 envelopes
out of the aptly unlabeled Black Pigeon stickpile, but 3 hours before
the plastic dilemma rolls in. Out of this 3 hours the stickpile
assembles, forms, thickens, wets, but spews next century’s surplus
out of plastic. Ten stickpiles waste 6 oak twigs daily, forget about
adding machines never occupying a square foot.


Twig death. The giant asteroid is solidifying. Alien births exclude
some dirt, scratched glass, papier mache or epinephrine, none
buried at a temporary launching pad above naturally-fed desert.


A disassociation does not make life all the less joyful.
Dust of a life cannot kill the crocus.
We cannot remain the seed.


CAS APRIL 22, 2014

Rock Doves on the Empire State Building

Rock Doves on the Empire State Building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Robb, Peter, The Voice, Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 22, 2014 (C1, C8)

Kielberger, Craig & Marc, If you were a tree, what would you be? Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 22, 2014 (C1, C8)

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Ouliposter-Badge-Blue-300x300From the Oulipost site:

Choose a sentence or short passage from your newspaper to complete a homoconsonantism. In this form, the sequence of consonants in a source text is kept, while all its vowels are replaced. For example:

ORIGINAL: To be or not to be: that is the question.
CONSONANTS ONLY: T b r n t t b t t s t h q s t n
FINAL PRODUCT: As burnt tibia: it heats the aqueous tone.

This is much more difficult than it seems at first, trying to find the right words that are flexible enough, and in the right order, to work easily with new vowels. I have probably given up on this too quickly, but threatening migraine tells me I need to take a rest.  So, here was my original sentence:


First, I tried substituting xx’s for the vowels:


but I found that I was mixing the xx’s in as new consonants.  So I went back and eliminated those and parsed the sentence I’d created, changing words to fit the proper consonants:


My first attempt came out like this, which made little sense, and I was stumped at the double FF:



My final attempt is just as much nonsense, but with a couple of words changed to plurals (poetic licence!) this is what I have:



CAS April 18, 2014


Ouliposter-Badge-Blue-300x300Today’s OULIPOST challenge:   The chimera of Homeric legend – lion’s head, goat’s body, treacherous serpent’s tail – has a less forbidding Oulipian counterpart. It is engendered as follows. Having chosen a newspaper article or other text for treatment, remove its nouns, verbs and adjectives. Replace the nouns with those taken in order from a different work, the verbs with those from a second work, the adjectives with those from a third.

Today was a good day for this, as the first piece I chose to use as my treatment text was written so lyrically in places that there was a found poem waiting for me to use!  All I had to do was strip out some of the extra that was obscuring the poem.

Choosing which articles to use for the word swaps was a bit more of a challenge, but once I had the ones I thought might work, it took very little time to decide which would be the source for nouns, which for verbs and which, adjectives.

I actually like the poem as it stands before any swap-outs! It’s a long poem, but I think it is fun to see what the starting text was, then how it turned with the new words. Here is the starting poem, based on Kelly Egan’s column on the emerald ash borer:

Death of the Hardwood Goliaths

The emerald ash borer ravages trees —
and homeowners’ bank accounts.
Ash trees are being cut
by the thousands in this city,
hardwood goliaths felled
by a half-inch beetle.

City parks now look bare,
suddenly too full of sky.
Backyards have gone barren.
And homeowners are handed
eye-popping estimates for
tree removal, followed by
near fainting spells.

The emerald ash borer has a lot to answer for.
It ate some 700 trees
in Andy Haydon Park alone.
It’s a mammoth, mammoth problem.

Ventral view of Emerald Ash Borer adult.

Ventral view of Emerald Ash Borer adult. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Should the city or province consider
a cost-sharing/tax credit program
or homeowners saddled with the expense
of removing stricken ash trees?

What happens to homeowners who
can’t afford, or simply refuse to remove
dead trees, creating a safety hazard
for themselves and neighbours?


Ottawa already has a bylaw for
private trees, a public good is served
by protecting trees on private property,
What’s the policy position when the “resource” dies?

The crown of ash tree
was in poor shape last year.
Today, at the base, there is
a pile of stripped bark in the shape
of banana peels and a trunk riddled
with tiny holes. The ash is on its deathbed.

From where we stand, five other trees on
adjoining lots look not far behind.
The city’s position:
your tree, your problem, your expense.
The city is dealing with its own mess.
Of the 300,000 trees in its inventory,
20 to 25 per cent are thought to be ash.

Once the tree is killed by this bug,
who will tend to it? To consider the urban forest
work in saving ash trees. So, city dweller,
if an ash tree falls in your forest, it falls on you.

Today was also a day to refresh my grammar such as the noun phrase. Where the noun phrases such as the emerald ash borer were replaced  I considered it as a single word, and removed all parts. If able, I replace with other noun phrases.When changing verbs, I changed the tense and voice where necessary, and removed some prepositions to strengthen the poem. This, by far, is the most time-intensive of the exercises so far, clocking in at 7 hours. Here’s the result of my attempt at the Chimera exercise:

Hogs Back Falls Aren’t Behavioural

The water level drives Rideau River —
and its highest level.
Five years have taken, selfish
by the Tuesday, in entitled flooding,
Lazy Old Ottawa South bold
by certain areas.

Flooding now winds popular,
suddenly usual of Rideau River.
Hogs Back Falls aren’t behavioural.
And Thursday hugs social Fridays
for Tuesdays, are near absolute avenues.

The river represents a lot to call for.
It depends on some worst rain.
In ice pellets? Two.
It’s a negative, scientifically-confirmed snow.

Show the city afternoon a reported water, homes
continue with the area of creeping bigger residents.
What splurging to streets who are, or simply are
amateur Fridays, have shown a well-stocked avenue
for themselves and wives?

Children already are an eye for entire water,
a second home can afford, are sides on private homes,
What obtains the high enough ground
when the “city” is brought down?

Rain permits, in insulting ways, heightened
basement fun, at the experience, is overloaded
kids of annoying puddle in the end of their canoe
and an end is out with valuable streets.
The water released on its neighbours.

From where we are, democratic principled rowboats on
critical school bus locks not far behind the flood season:
your child, your flooding, your Tuesday.
The hill guarantying to burn with its cooperative avenues
of the innovative dog in its victims. Inclusive to participatory
floods are compounded neighbourhood dog parks.

Once the water compounded is, by this day, who believes it.
To avoid the solution-focused flooded streets, make clear
in facing the rain. So, flooding, if a puddle says in your home,
it says on you.

CAS April 16, 2014


English: Lower portion of Hog's Back Falls, Ri...

English: Lower portion of Hog’s Back Falls, Rideau River, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Egan, Kelly, Your tree, your problem, your expense Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 16, 2014 (B1)  TEXT USED AS POEM BASE

Hurley, Meghan, Flood Watch on the Rideau, Ottawa Citizen print edition April 16, 2014 (B3) TEXT USED FOR NOUNS

Marsden, William, U.S. locks into bad government – and climate change, Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 16, 2014 (A9) TEXT USED FOR VERBS

Gormley, Shannon, Column: Politics for Millennials, Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 16, 2014 (A11)  TEXT USED FOR ADJECTIVES



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Ouliposter-Badge-Plum-300x300Refer to the advertising section or the classifieds in your source newspaper. Create a poem by replacing all of the nouns in your chosen ad segment or classified listing with nouns from one article in the same newspaper. You may use multiple ads/classifieds, presented in the order of your choosing.

First, I chose the articles I’d use for the ads, based on headlines with interesting words. I chose three, but since the instructions said to use ONE article, that’s what I did for all the small ads.  But I also found a larger, half page ad that I wanted to play with. I haven’t used the product brand name, as I don’t want to suggest any questions of trademark infringement!  I decided to use a different article for that, and to choose only selected portions of the ad for my “poem”.

Here are the eight small classified section poems, with varying success and silliness:

Not a Live-In Prison

Condo Inferno. keeping
common tragedy clean.
Normal building blaze,
daily winds, Fire safety hilltop
ensuring city is in fire.
Inmates 35K a fire.
This is not a live-in prison.

High End

Join us.
High end people require
homes and senior streets
year round electricity.
Email flames.

Seeking a Sky 

Group seeking a sky
to work in the Ottawa hilltops.
Must have service horizons.
Must be winds,
all relevant history
up to death.


SKY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Golden Firefighters

purebred people,
vaccinated, dewormed.
Inhalation available.
Reserve now.

Louis, at 1

vaccinated, neutered, microchipped
damage catastrophe,
playful, active, enjoys being
with fire trucks.

Selection of KLM Delft Blue Houses

Selection of KLM Delft Blue Houses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Delft Blue

Private hospitals.
beautiful family staircase
of Dutch Delft blue
porcelain hills & wall remains.
Also black lacquer beautiful
hand-painted Chinese governor.
36 x 14 & 2 neighbourhoods.

Variable Pricing

Planes. 2 Bed spots for sale.
Sleigh zone dark wood
asking 1000
Girls Double access points.
Asking 1100, $1000

Trendiest Air

Q-West Legislature Westboro.
Rare catastrophe.
Last 2 BR corner zone avail.
overlooking history
& Heritage Stone People.
Amazing lifestyle access points,
trendiest air.
Selling due to supplies, purchase at street.
Fire reserved 2 flames ago
to ensure best ashes.

stone faces

stone faces (Photo credit: Miquel99)

And this is the piece based on the half-page ad:

Masking the Toothbrush Lumber

Save time, get predictions
for your back trash.
This tsunami only:
clinically proven back
decompression oceans 50% off.

Debris affects 80% of beachcombers,
can rob you of your remnants,
where getting out of waves becomes
a painful season of your bad months.

While bottles provide temporary earthquake,
the damage can reoccur, cigarette lighters mask
the toothbrush lumber. Other shoes
cost thousands of plastic rings,
have substantial health panic…

Decompression Back Fear expands
to stretch tight back torrents
to help relieve flotsam on pinched bottom
caused by herniated twine,
degenerated trash-mass,
dream, scream and poor sewage.
By relieving the high seas,
you can help relieve the indifference …

30 Day Trash Back Waste!
There’s no smorgasbord.
Try it to finally get rid
of your back bellies

CAS April 14, 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam

Flotsam and Jetsam (Photo credit: krossbow)


Ibanez, Graciela and Jarroud, Marianela Chile inferno a tremendous ‘tragedy’, Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 14, 2014 (A7)

Moneo, Shannon, Oceans of garbage threaten our planet, Ottawa Citizen, print edition, April 14, 2014 (A9

Classified Ad Section (B6)

Partial ad, Page (A4)


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