Oulipost begins today!
Every day this April, nearly 80 poets will write one poem per day by applying constrained writing techniques sourced from the Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle — or “workshop of potential literature”) group to text sourced from their daily local newspaper. This is the first of thirty prompts in the Oulipost project.
Oulipost #1: Quote Cento
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.
So. After spending three hours with my morning paper, I had chosen my quotes but to fit them together, allowed myself the option of being neither purist nor restricting to one article or section. Here is my quote cent, with sources below. And yes, the title is a quote too:
“WHAT IS IT THAT WE ARE NOT DOING THEN?”
It’s been years since we’ve been this low
We’re just not achieving the results we need!
an enormous amount of cleaning to do
the spectre of reduced yields in key crops that feed humanity
He had no clue that his friend had gone to the dark side.
that’s part and parcel, goes with what happened.
The shock factor, the depressed, whatever state you want.
It’s everywhere you look, everywhere you go outside,
You could feel it a little bit.
But there is a sense of normal life.
Life for local people is going on.
All the shops are open.
People are walking in the streets
…some crops will do better.
Primary metals and oils and gas seem to be rebounding a bit.
These are tiny steps
there’s no experience like stepping into this ring and measuring yourself
I tried to come in with a smile
Carol A. Stephen
April 1, 2014
Sources quoted: All from Ottawa Citizen, April 1, 2014
• Kirkey, Sharon, Post Media News, Experts fear hospitals not clean enough A1 –A2, Zoutman, Dr. Dick
• Butler, Don C. difficile struggles continue A-2 Neill, Allison
• Weber, Bob Climate options melting away, A6, Smol, John, Pachauri, Rajendra
• Sylvester, Meggie The new language debate: Trudeau’s use of the F-bomb A-3, Trudeau, Justin
• Traikos, Michael, PostMedia News,The day the music stopped B6, Carlyle, Randy, Franson, Cody D’Amigo, Jerry
• Cobb, Chris, No clue friend had gone to dark side C1, Edelson, Michael
• Crawford, Bruce, Afghans upbeat, says U of O prof, Ottawa C1-C2, Banerjee, Ranjan
• Isfeld, Gordon Manufacturers hit higher gear, D1, Bill Ferreira