funny things happen in Oulipost facebook groups. (i know, i know – it sounds unlikely, but bear with me). one person makes a Monty Python reference, poet Marty Elwell mentions that next year’s Found Poetry Month should be “Oulipython,” a bunch of Python references are thrown about, and the next thing you know, one person is sitting up past midnight creating a proposed list of Oulipython prompts just because i can. so, get ready for your next month of poetry:
NOTE: no animals should be harmed during the course of Oulipython.
Day 1: Beau Lumberjack: Find the names of three local lumberjacks – using only the words that can be formed from the letters of their names, create a poem.
Day 2: Argument Clinic: Compose a poem in the form of an argument sourced from transcripts of talk shows.
Day 3: Spam: Compose a poem sourced from your Spam folder.
Day 4: The Bridge of Death: Compose a poem using only three questions and their correct answers.
Day 5: And Now For Something Completely Different: Compose a poem from the transcripts of any broadcast that “interrupted our regularly scheduled programming.”
Day 6: Knights Who Say Ni: Compose a poem about potted plants that only uses the letters in the words said by the Knights Who Say Ni.
Day 7: Endings: Write a poem whose ending is interrupted by a poetry authority, whose ending is interrupted by a poetry authority, whose—(Please note that the creator of Day 7’s prompt has been silenced. We apologize for the thoroughly silly nature of this prompt. The creator has been dealt with. – Ed.)
Day 8: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: Cut out paperdolls of characters from Monty Python sketches. Stand them up in front of a page of the script of The Life of Brian. At 5.34 pm in your time zone, create a poem using only the words NOT in shadow.
Day 9: Wuthering Heights: Compose a poem using semaphore. Perform it on the moors. Upload your video and post the link on a Monty Python fan site.
Day 10: It’s: Compose a poem using only the word “It’s.”
Day 11: Dragging It Out OR Boy’s Club OR Python Girl: Write down the lines spoken by Carol Cleveland in one episode of Monty Python. Replace the nouns with nouns spoken by a male cast member from the same episode, verbs with verbs spoken by a male cast member and adjectives with adjectives spoken by a male cast member. DO NOT REPLACE ANY ADVERBS.
Day 12: Terry’s Prompt: Write a poem sourced from lines spoken by the American member of the Python crew.
Day 13: No Punchlines: Write a poem that consists only of punchlines from Monty Python sketches.
Day 14: Crunchy Frog: Compose a poem sourced from the ingredients listed in the Crunchy Frog sketch. Bonus points for spelling out the poem in bits of Crunchy Frog.
Day 15: Ministry of Silly Walks: Write out an entire sketch – one word on each page of paper. Scatter the paper around your house. With your best silly walk, traverse across the pages. Compose a poem using only the words upon which you stepped.
Day 16: Pearl Harbor: Select a famous poem. Using the Batley Townswomens’ Guild, re-enact the poem.
Day 17: Nudge Nudge Wink Wink: Select a sonnet of Mr. William Shakespeare. Replace every noun with “Nudge” and ever verb with “Wink.” Spin around three times. Spit.
Day 18: Cheese Shop: I don’t know. Eat some cheese. Write a poem. Do not reference Monty Python. Question why you’re writing this list instead of sleeping. Wonder when a joke has gone too far (Our sincere apologies. The writer of day 18 has been thrown to the wolves. – Ed)
Day 19: Self-Defense Against Fresh Fruit: Place a page of script on a table. Defend yourself against an attack of fresh fruit. After you have stemmed the tide, compose a poem from the words that have fruit juice/pulp/skin/seeds/bits upon them.
Day 20: Gratuitous Pictures of Penises: Select a page of script. Replace all nouns, verbs, adjectives and conjunctions with pictures of penises. DO NOT REPLACE ANY ADVERBS.
Day 21: The Funniest Joke in the World: Write the most beautiful or most moving poem in the world. Become so verklempt that you cannot finish it.
Day 22: Find the Fish: Select an Emily Dickinson poem. Find the fish. Repeat until it’s a poem.
Day 23: The Black Knight: Write a line that consists of 20 iambs. In each consecutive line, cut off one iamb until you are down to zero.
Day 24: The Spanish Inquisition: Select a page of text about the Spanish Inquisition. Sit in a comfy chair. As you find a poem in the words, ask someone to interrupt you as they see fit with various weapons. Whenever they do, drop your pen on the page. Any pen-marked words may be used in your poem.
Day 25: Four Yorkshiremen: Select your favorite Sylvia Plath poem. Interrupt the poem to let the author know how lucky she was that she even had a Bell…or a Jar… Compose a poem about how terrible you feel about this prompt.
Day 26: Life of Bible: Select a page from the Bible. Replace every proper name, noun, verb and adjective with Brian. Hey, it’s day 26 – you’ll thank me for this one. Oh, but, of course, DO NOT REPLACE ANY ADVERBS.
Day 27: Are You Still Reading? Seriously. It’s a freakin’ joke. Get some sleep already.
Day 28: Fish Slapping: Print up an entire sketch. Buy a (dead) fish. Slap the pages with the fish. Any non-fished words may be used to build your poem.
Day 29: Dead Parrot: Buy a parrot from a pet store. If it is dead before you even get home, return the parrot. Compose a poem sourced from the ensuing conversation between you and the pet store owner. If your parrot lives, you’ve missed out on a great poem opportunity. Well done.
Day 30: Flying Circus: Print out all 29 poems. Cover a blank piece of paper with glue. Cut the poems into pieces. Throw them in the air – any words, phrases, flotsam, fruit flies or scraps that stick to the paper are to be used in order, in full, to make the final poem. Replace any adverbs with