Oulipost #25 – Larding

Larding, Aka “line stretching”. From your newspaper text, pick two sentences. Add a new sentence between the two; then two sentences in the new intervals that have become available; and continue to add sentences until the passage has attained the length desired. The supplementary sentences must either enrich the existing narrative or create a new narrative continuity.

Scoring At Will

So the big news in town this weekend is guns.
It’s a race to the bottom.
It is vital because crime can
and does happen anywhere.
I was excited, but I wasn’t surprised.
I don’t think that’s right.
Obviously, the devil is in the details
I’m an optimist by nature.
So to the NRA: Congratulations.
You have won the public debate.

What the NRA wants, the NRA gets.

And that’s great.
Now please put your outsized power to good use.
The NRA has been scoring at will.

Seriously, allowing guns in school parking lots?
But, hey, that’s how it is just about every weekend around here.

Matthew Tully, “NRA Could Use Its Voice to Do Nation a Service”, Indianapolis Star, April 25, 2014
Chris Sickich, “13B Merger Rocks Warsaw”, Indianapolis Star, April 25, 2014
Indianapolis Star Editors, “An Indy Moment”, Indianapolis Star, April 25, 2014
Charles D. Wilson, “NRA Seeks Federal Gun Law”, Indianapolis Star, April 25, 2014


Oulipost #24 – Homosyntaxism

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.”
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.

I chose a variation of Option 2, three sentences from a paragraph, and repeated them throughout my poem.


I imagined, with a vision of nightfall,
she was dreaming without fear, and dying with grace.
We huddled around her bed and whispered,
her grasp slipping from my hand.

She was sleeping through sunlight, and wincing in pain.
They coddled with warm blankets and eased
our grief, tending with hushed endearments.

I surrendered, with a moment of hesitation.
She was shutting down systems, and turning toward light.
We gasped with our sadness and held
our breath, turning from stilled hands.

Source: Dana Hunsinger Bengow, Indianapolis Star, April 24, 2014

Oulipost #23 – Inventory

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.
I inventoried adjectives, nouns, and verbs only.

The Last List

good friends remembered
sweetest colleague liked
full Tuesday known
fellow police officer was
pink mother have
slain grandmother said
closed friend had known
golden resident was
brown attention pinned
pink ribbons paid
two clothes was
enlarged respects adorned

Source: Kristine Guerra, “Memories Sustain, Sadden Mourners”, Indianapolis Star,

Oulipost #22 – Antonymy

In Oulipian usage, antonymy means the replacement of a designated element by its opposite. Each word is replaced by its opposite, when one exists (black/white) or by an alternative suggesting antonymy (a/the, and/or, glass/wood).
0riginal: To be or not to be, that is the question.
Antonymy: To not be and to be, this was an answer.
Select a passage from your newspaper source text to complete this exercise.

Nobody Funerals Stay High-Lock

Those nights, nobodies
aren’t shouting “You don’t “.
Remember trucked-out weeds,
or zero-animal enemy lists?

They aren’t thundering up
an aisle, dropping globally
dumped cultivated weeds
past none of their
farthest or most hated.

Nobodies are cutting
the loose rope, so loudly
that the neighborhood loses
in all ways, before the lie,
or now, there isn’t a rarity
of generalities.

Or always, they are not
rolling in the aisles, none apart.

Source: Olivia Barker, “Celebrity Weddings Go Low-Key”, USA Today insert, Indianapolis Star

Oulipost #21 – Confabulation

Craft a conversation poem using “he said/she said” quotes that you find in newspaper articles.

So Inconceivable

The first year was just
a nightmare. There were no rules
and no process set up,
and we were
pretty much flying
by the seat of our pants.

I could feel it in my chest. You
could feel the force.
There was no bomb.
I was just there.
You could feel the force.

We walked out and it was
just chaos.

That was so inconceivable.
It reminded us why
we do what we’re doing.

Their problem’s not
that I don’t understand what they do.
Their problem is
I understand exactly what they do.

We walked out
and it was just chaos.

Susan Page, “Confront the Powerful, Question the System”, USA Today insert, Indianapolis Star
David Woods, “Return to Boston”, Indianapolis Star
Stephanie Wang, “Numbers are Bad, But Who’s Counting?”, Indianapolis Star

Oulipost #20 – Lescurean Permutation (Plain)

Select a newspaper article or passage from a newspaper article as your source text. Switch the first noun with the second noun, the third noun with the fourth noun, and so on until you’ve reached the end of your text.
I used several separate passages from one article to complete this work below:

Venice, on Steroids

This iconic Gothic architecture,
renowned for the incomparable city
and placid gondolas that make it
one of the most recognizable canals
in Italy, may have had enough world.

A region of the Italian movement
that includes the state to declare
itself an independent Venice
is gaining policies here amid chaotic
economic momentum, from pride
and local Rome, in the achievement
of history in the class and merchant arts.

It bothers a lot of money to work hard
and see the people just disappear.
That just feeds the independent worker
who supports the spirit. Locals mention
corruption at the frustration, and endemic
parts of the tax evasion in other countries.

A maritime day from the powers of the
innovation, it was the center of intellectual,
artistic, and commercial Middle Ages in
years for more than a thousand Europes.
There would be no people to it if any group
of ends could just decide on their own.

Source: Eric J. Lyman, “Frustrated Venice Wants Out of Italy”, USA TODAY insert in Indianapolis Star, April 20, 2014.

Oulipost #19 – Sestina

A sestina is a poetic form of six six-line stanzas. The end-words of the lines of each stanza repeat those of the first, but in a differing order that in each successive stanza follows the permutation: 615243. The entire sequence of end words is thus: 123456; 615243; 364125; 532614; 451362; 246531. All words and phrases must be sourced from your newspaper text. In my case, that is the Indianapolis Star.

Driving, While Shaving

Drivers admit to flossing and shaving,
eating and putting on deodorant. More
use phones to text and talk, and some admit
to singing out loud. Distracted behind
the wheel, a close relationship with their
device is significant for younger drivers.

Distracted singing with eyes closed, drivers
admit to performing, respondents are shaving
while eating, texting with mobile devices, their
cars vehicles of disaster, hitting notes, and more.
Not surprisingly, youthful inexperience behind
the wheel, they are not more apt to admit

they use portable devices while driving, admit
they use laptops, read texts, sing to other drivers
while chewing tobacco. Youth and gender are behind
the basic grooming that goes on, not just shaving,
but blowing their hair dry as they are, and more.
The top activity might be eating, or flossing their

teeth. When drivers get behind the wheel their
tunes are tweeted. Reading, they admit
sending selfies, a love affair they will be more
responsible for. Hurtling down the highway, drivers
require a much closer relationship with shaving,
avoiding crashes with vigilance that comes from behind.

Great responsibility can be killed from behind,
being tweeted without being clear. Women, their
love-affair with cars enjoyable, don’t experience shaving
in a machine as responsible. Even singing, they admit,
can take your attention. Men may send texts to drivers
who don’t know if happiness is really cool. And more

young drivers who mature never tweet selfies, or more
deadly activities. Hurtling down the highway, behind
cars while singing and eating and flossing, drivers
can be deadly. Behind the wheels of cars, their
flow of traffic much less harmonic, they admit
it should not distract them from shaving.

Source: Casey Williams, “Drivers Driven to Distractions”, Indianapolis Star, April 19, 2014

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