Open 44: Oulipo a la Eunoia


Christian Bok, in his book of poetry, Eunoia, dedicates a section of his long poem to each vowel. In each segment, Bok uses only that vowel, as in the example below. For today's writing exercise, write a poem in which you use only one vowel.

Excerpt from ch i euonia by c bok

oPen 10

Here’s an exercise in Oulipo.  I got it from the book Oulipo Compendium by Harry Matthews.  Your mission: Write a left-handed lipogram.  This is a poem in which you may use only the keys on the left-side of your computer keyboard.

100,000,000,000,000 Poems by Raymond Queneau

J0396005 Rereading the Oulipo Compendium tonight.  Here are some lines that caught my eye.  They’re from Queneau’s 100,000,000,000,000 Poems.  The poems of this sequence are sonnets–of a sort. The lines of these sonnets are interchangeable.  In other words, line 11 of any sonnet could be exchanged with line 11 of any of the other sonnets in the sequence.  Queneau used mathematics to create his own brand of formalism, resulting in some cool and surreal experiments.

It’s no good rich men crying Heaven Bless

Or grinning like a pale-faced golliwog

Poor Yorick comes to bury not address

We’ll suffocate before the epilogue

Poor reader smile before your lips go numb

The best of all things to an end must come