Oulipost: Ouli-Python Prompts

gilliam3funny 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.Batley Townswomen's Guild

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


This entry was posted in Oulipost and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Oulipost: Ouli-Python Prompts

  1. marvelist says:

    Reblogged this on Choose Your Own Adventure and commented:
    And now for something completely different….

  2. quillfyre says:

    James, you could make an Oulipian Python Found poem using the titles of the prompts. I love the Silly Walks one and Day 10 prompt, although two of them confuse me. The one about letters used by Knights who say Ni. Do they use any other letters? And the one that says No punchlines yet is composed only of punchlines. Of course, that is very Pythonesque…

    • what a great idea (the title poem)! i love it. i’m impressed that only two confuse you; i’m confused by a number of them! the Knights who say Ni – they do say some other things, but, like the “it’s” prompt, i thought it would be funny to just use N and I. as to the punchlines, you got it!
      • quillfyre says:

        I was not confused by the other ones because I know how Pythonesque they are. So off the wall that it doesn’t matter if one understands them or not. Do you mind if I also try a titles poem? See how similar or different mine might be to yours. I assume you will do one…lol

      • indeed, indeed. please try a title poem! that’d be great. we can link to them or paste ’em in the comments… here we go…

      • quillfyre says:

        I realize that to do the titles alone might not quite work, although I will try that first.
        As a variation, afterward, I propose that to provide some sense to the poem words might then be added, but with each title’s line, only words from the description of that particular prompt. Does that work for you?

      • i agree to your terms. (tee hee) enjoy.

  3. C.J. Black says:

    Now where was I??

  4. quillfyre says:

    Here is my titles only poem. I just kind of mixed them up a bit: Beau Lumberjack Argument Clinic

    Four Yorkshiremen spam the Spanish Inquisition.
    It’s the bridge of death or boy’s club,
    Find the fish flying circus knights
    who say ni, always look on the bright side of life.

    No punchlines or python girl dragging it out.
    Terry’s gratuitous pictures of penises prompt
    the funniest Ministry of Silly Walks Joke in the world—
    nudge nudge wink wink

    And now for Pearl Harbor, something completely different:
    self-defense against fresh dead parrot? Crunchy frog
    fish-slapping The Black Knight.
    Wuthering Heights Cheese Shop endings.

    Are you still reading Life of Bible?

    CAS April 23, 2014


    • hurrah. very nice. love that first line and the closer. well done.

      • quillfyre says:

        Here is my take when adding in words from the prompts themselves, but mixed it all up, not like what I had outlined before~

        Fish-slapping the Crunchy Frog

        Potted plants compose a poem
        of punchlines from talk shows
        interrupted by poetry authority
        using semaphore on the moors.

        Three local lumberjacks
        cut out paperdolls from fresh fruit.
        Dead parrots find the fish in the cheese shop,
        using the words of The Black Knight.

        Four Yorkshiremen are fish-slapping the crunchy frog,
        dragging it out in self-defense. Gratuitous penises
        replace spam inquisition. The funniest side of life
        of the bible, it’s completely different programming.

        Silly-walk to Pearl Harbor, OR
        prompt Terry to re-enact the Flying Circus argument.
        Nudge the pet store owner, spit instead of sleeping.

        Throw flotsam, fruit flies and scraps
        off the Bridge of Death, to the wolves of the air.

        Still reading?

        CAS April 23, 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s