National Poetry Month: April.
Yet Another Glorious Found Poetry Review Initiative: Oulipost.
working from daily editions of the local newspaper, i’ll be tasked with using some hilariously detailed Oulipo guidelines to create a poem a day for the month. it should be quite a journey! in antici…pation of the festivities, i’ve been asked to answer some questions.
1. What excites me most about Oulipost?
constraints. restrictions. patterns. extreme order resulting in disorderly, messy work. frenchness. french fries. et cetera. plenty of et cetera. sunglasses.
2. What, if anything, scares you about Oulipost?
i had a good friend who was attacked by an Oulipost one late April afternoon. he was walking to the pub, minding his own, looking for fresh dill pickles, whistling a jaunty tune — opened the door: WHAM-O.
and no dill pickles. never saw him again.
oh, also, slight fear my pieces will suck.
3. Have I written experimental or found poetry before?
you may have noticed and tucked yourselves into bed comforted by the knowledge that i have in fact written some experimental poetry (and plays too). there’s some found poetry up in this very bloggage. even more exciting, my first book of found poetry was just recently published by Silver Birch Press. don’t believe me? well, see here.
4. What newspaper will serve as my source text?
why, the lovely local Burlington Free Press, naturally.
5. Who’s my spirit Oulipian?
not a question i was prepared for, but after some extensive soul-searching and interwebs-browsing, i’d have to say:
Anne F. Garréta – for three reasons:
- those sunglasses;
- the first member of Oulipo who was born after it was founded (i don’t know why i like that; i just do); and
- most importantly, her essay “On Bookselves” which includes this nugget:
“Books may well be an alien species, parasites proliferating on the body of humanity, breeding uncontrollably in modern climates. You think the genetically re-engineered, radiation-mutated vermin or virus, the face-hugging alien were bad ? Picture in their stead the ultimate uncanny alien species : books.
Then, just take another look at your bookshelves, at your bedstand.”
she then goes on to list some principles for how to partition one’s books and force some control over these wild creations; for example:
“Principle # 6
– books in which one encounters whales ;
– books in which not even the shadow of a whale is to be found ;
– books from which have disappeared, inexplicably, the whales one imagined there.”