Inventory is a method of analysis and classification that consists of isolating and listing the vocabulary of a pre-existing work according to parts of speech. Choose a newspaper article or passage from a newspaper article and “inventory” the nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, articles, etc. Bonus points for creative presentation of your final lists.
To see what the Ouliposters have come up with for their vocabulary analysis, check out the Oulipost blog here: http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/blog/oulipost-23-inventory/
After choosing my source text, I realized that it would be a marathon session if I did the analysis before whittling down the text, so I created a draft poem to work with, and analysed the vocabulary that I used in the poem. I worked with Dictionary.com and a parsing tool, which sometimes used unfamiliar terms like “determiner”. Dictionary.com used more familiar classifications.
Here, then, is the analysis, with each word, within its category, listed in order of appearance in the poem:
• Adjectives: Irresponsible, any, illegal, convenient, local, some, few, some, heavy, red, best, this, government-controlled, inconvenient, wrong, readily available, own, squeamish, nervous, strange, silliness, rational
• Adverbs: more, down, when,
• Articles: a, a, the, the, the, the,
• Conjunctions: and, and, or, and, and, but,
• Interjection: sorry
• Nouns: bacon, research, portion, store, pack, bacon, people, moderation, slices, breakfast, cottage, doughnuts, cupcakes, seafood, users, meat, cheese, burgers, stuff, substance, bacon, carcinogen, consumers, choices, meat, booze, laws, kind,
• Noun phrases: grocery store, cancer risk, status quo
• Prepositions: in, with, to, of, in, with, at, on, around, onto, in, to, of, from,
• Pronouns: it, it, you, it, others, it, it, it, it,
• Possessive pronouns: your, their, their
• Proper nouns: Ontario, Ontario, Beer Store,
• Possessive noun: Ontario’s,
• Verbs: to allow, shows, increases, make, don’t, make, imagine , could go, pick, consume, sprinkle, wrap, layer, to keep, is, known, make, comes, gets, is, might change, trying, to make, look
Here is the poem that uses the vocabulary inventoried above:
Bacon ‘n’ Booze Control
Irresponsible to allow bacon in Ontario grocery stores.
Research shows cancer risk increases with any portion.
Make it illegal, don’t make it more convenient.
Imagine you could go down to your local store
and pick up a pack of bacon.
Some people consume it in moderation —
a few slices with breakfast at the cottage—
others sprinkle it on doughnuts and cupcakes
or wrap it around their seafood.
Some heavy users layer it onto red meat
and cheese in burgers. Best to keep this stuff
government-controlled and inconvenient.
Sorry, wrong substance. Bacon is
readily available – known carcinogen.
Consumers make their own choices
when it comes to meat.
But booze? Ontario gets squeamish.
The Beer Store is nervous
Ontario’s strange laws might change,
the kind of silliness from trying
to make the status quo look rational.
CAS April 23, 2014
Source: Kate Heartfield, Fearmongering about alcohol gets ridiculous Ottawa Citizen print edition April 23, 2014 (A11)