Homosyntaxism is a method of translation that preserves only the syntactic order of the original words. To give a rudimentary example, if N=noun, V=verb and A=adjective, the outline NVA could yield solutions such as “The day turned cold,” “Violets are blue,” “An Oulipian! Be wary!”)
Option 1: Choose a sentence from your newspaper source text and write as many homosyntaxisms as possible based on that same variation.
Option 2: Complete a homosyntaxism of an entire paragraph or article found in your text.
To see what my fellow Oulipians are up to with this constraint, visit today’s blog post at the Oulipo Project post on the Found Poetry Reivew: www.foundpoetryreview.com/blog/oulipost-24-homosyntaxism/
I thought I was going to do Option 1, but I ended up doing a variation on Option 2. While I did not use an entire paragraph, I did use excerpts from two articles to create my homonsyntaxisms.
Here is the base text for the two selections, showing the parsing of the sentences in red and the lines using the same syntax in blue:
Article 1. Liberals are getting a bad name — another bad name, that is.
Noun verb article adjective noun adjective adjective noun, idiom
Cats have nine lives, mysterious secret animals, they say
They were called traitors during the Bush years.
pronoun verb noun preposition article noun noun
Most hunt members of the rodent species
Flip-floppers during the Kerry nano-seconds.
noun preposition article noun noun
Opportunists behind a cat mask
But now, during the No One Can Tell Me What to Do Because No One’s Really in Charge Era, they’re called something that they’ve historically called conservatives: intolerant.
conjunction adverb, preposition article noun phrase noun pronoun verb noun, conjunction pronoun adverb verb noun adjective
and instantly from a Zen Cat Statue pose they capture mousey when they’re exactly primed: felines, patient
…the claim is more accurately phrased like this: liberals preach tolerance towards different kinds of people, and they’re intolerant of other peoples’ intolerant beliefs.
article noun verb adverb adverb verb preposition pronoun: noun verb noun preposition adjective noun preposition noun conjunction pronoun verb adjective preposition adjective possessive noun adjective noun.
A cat will always elegantly climb on someone: Cats love comfort in cosy surroundings upon laps, but themselves are solitude-loving for their own comfortable sleep.
Article 2. Deer still balk at crossing the border with Germany even though the physical barrier came down a quarter century ago.
Noun adverb verb preposition verb article noun preposition noun (subordinating conjunction phrase) article adjective noun verb adverb article adjective noun adverb
Trees never bend to hear a river beside them, as if an ancient wisdom taught the first saplings instinctively
The average life expectancy for deer is 15 years and none living now would have encountered the barrier.
article adjective noun phrase preposition noun verb number noun conjunction pronoun adverb adverb verb-aux verb verb article noun.
a silent water music in soil, rooted 2000 centuries before they finally majestically begin to sing a lullaby
Fawns follow mothers for the first year of their life and learn from them where to go.
noun verb noun preposition article adjective noun preposition possessive noun conjunction verb preposition pronoun adverb verb
Voices raise melody for a swift current across its banks while singing it gently to sleep.
From the resulting lines, I developed two of what are certainly draft-stage poems:
Behind a Cat Mask
Cats have nine lives, mysterious secret animals, they say.
Most hunt members of the rodent species,
opportunists behind a cat mask and instantly
from a Zen Cat Statue pose they capture mousey
when they’re exactly primed: felines, sphinx-like,
a cat will always elegantly climb on someone:
Cats choose comfort in cosy surroundings upon laps,
but themselves are solitude-loving
for their own comfortable sleep.
Willow Songs for Water
Trees never bend to hear a river beside them, as if
an ancient wisdom taught the first saplings instinctively
a silent water music in soil, rooted 2000 centuries
before they simply softly begin to sing a lullaby
Voices raise melody for a swift current
across its banks, while singing it gently to sleep.
CAS, April 24, 2014
1. Gormley, Shannon, Liberal intolerance means being intolerant of intolerance, Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 24, 2014 (A13)
2. Janicek, Karel, Deer still respect old Iron Curtain, Associated Press, Ottawa Citizen print edition, April 24, 2014 (A10)