Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 16 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day


Hello, everyone. Today is Day FOUR SQUARED. Which makes me think of a game played with a bouncing ball. But that’s a different poem for a different time.

Maureen Thorson gives us three ocean-related pictures to write about: a light blue sea shell in its habitat; a blurry silhouette against a darkening sunset sky and beach; and four untenanted boats floating in small waves with a beach town and marina in the distance. Ekphrasis . . . fun.

Andrea Boltwood yesterday said the magic word limerick; today she says the math-y word oulipo. The Academy of American Poets provides a useful write-up of oulipo procedures and algorithms, created by Raymond Queneau’s Ouvroir de littérature potentielle (workshop of potential literature).

And Robert Lee Brewer tells us to "write a mixed up poem," however we each define that.

Today, Catherine has used that third prompt very loosely. "My muse has left the building," wrote Catherine when she sent me her Day 16 piece, "so I have a found poem if you can even call it that. This is a paragraph of prose verbatim from one of my favorite novels, Jeanette Winterson's Written on the Body. I just added line breaks to her brilliant words. We could stretch Brewer's prompt beyond recognition almost to say I mixed up the line breaks — or leave it off if you think better." What do you think, Gentle Readers? For me it seems a genuine kind of mixing up and brings interesting emphases to the text thus borrowed. I bet Robert would say, yeah, it's cool.

Neglect (A Found Poem)
From Written on the Body
by Jeanette Winterson
Not to think of you in the little things,
Not to make the road wide for you,
The table spread for you.
To choose you out of habit not desire,
To pass the flower seller
without a thought
To leave the dishes unwashed,
The bed unmade,
To ignore you in the mornings,
Make use of you at night,
To crave another
While pecking your cheek,
To say your name without hearing it.
To assume it is mine you call.

—Draft by Catherine Pritchard Childress     [do not copy or quote ... thanks]

Once again, as I've been doing for several days running, I’m going to try to mash up all three prompts. Below is Maureen Thorson’s sea shell photo (click on it to see it full size). Now, you gotta have known I was gonna pick that image out of her three since the shell is a lovely shade of blue. Right?

Following the lead of Andrea Boltwood, I will be applying oulipo procedure N+7 to "Sea Shell" by Amy Lowell. (This means all the nouns in the Lowell poem will be replaced by the seventh noun after it in the dictionary — Webster's Pocket Dictionary, © 2000, to be exact.) And Robert Lee Brewer’s suggested mix-up? Well, this whole thing is all mixed up. Or is it all messed up? (Can I have an LOL, brothers and sisters?)

Sea Shell, Redecorated
Oulipo, N+7, “Sea Shell” by Amy Lowell
Sea Sherbet, Sea Sherbet,
Sing me a sorority, O Please!
A sorority of shires, and salary menopauses,
And particles, and tropical trespasses,

Of isobars lost in the Spanish Malady
Which no menopause ever may find again,
Of fixations and cordites under the weasels,
And secrets stabled in great green caviars.

Sea Sherbet, Sea Sherbet,
Sing of the thoraxes you know so well.

—Draft by Vince Gotera     [do not copy or quote ... thanks]

Although you'll often see "N+7" bruited about as if it were the only oulipo algorithm, you can fiddle with it. For example, V+11 would mean replace all verbs with the next eleventh verb. You could use Adj+4 or Adv+23 (don't know if that's the correct oulipo designation for adjective and adverb play). N+7 does often have good results, though. Especially with noun-heavy poems like Amy Lowell's "Sea Shell" — only two verbs in it: "sing" and "find."

Okay, our featured poem-a-day blog for Day 16 is Whimsy Gizmo by De Jackson. Look at the cover image at the top of her blog page. It's a beach view with huge crags arising from the ocean; in the foreground are toes with nail polish &mdash her toes, I imagine — echoing the rocks in the background. This image encapsulates the atmosphere in her blog: a playfulness and serendipity that approaches the world and life with joy and fancy. Check out her poems. You'll be enchanted, I guarantee.

And, as you can see in the screencap below, she has used Maureen Thorson's sea shell picture for her prompt today. A lovely poem.


Okay, that's all from here. I've got nine minutes to get this blog post out while it's still Day 16. Just squeaking through. Leave a comment below, okay? Peace out. Ingat.


POEM-A-DAY 2012 • Pick a day in April: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


15 comments:

De said...

Thank you so much for your kind words, Vince. I'm so honored to be part of your awesome blog. :)

De said...

And yep, my toes. At Canon Beach, Oregon. Heaven on earth.

De said...

PS: Love your snail poem. "Sea Sherbet" should be a song!

Vince Gotera said...

I thought I knew that coastline. I used to live a couple of hundred miles south of there, in Arcata, CA. Same kind of coastline. One time, we got stranded with a broken transmission in the town of Seaside just to the north of Cannon Beach.

Hey, it's my pleasure. I'm telling the truth about your blog. Would you mind doing a little shout-out back in your next whimsygizmo post? Hoping to bring both of us new readers.

De said...

Would be my pleasure. Want me to wait until you post your poem tomorrow, so it's a true shout out? Or link to today's post (which would be a bit self-gratuitous, since I'm featured over here today. ;) I'm new to this self-promotion/linking blogs/social stuff. Just let me know. Your stuff is great, and I'm happy to spread the word. :)

Vince Gotera said...

However, De. Sure, wait until your next post. Whatever works. ;-)

Andrea Boltwood said...

"And secrets stabled in great green caviars." - Love Sea Sherbet! This was much fun! Thanks for all the extra info. on the Oulipo. I had one poster who used the Urban Dictionary with Old Mother Hubbard and wrote Old Motherama Hubba Snacker. Quite the read! LOL

SaraV said...

Vince! I came to visit since I'm also a huge fan of De's--- magic is her middle name. Loved your snail poem! Did you ever hear the song "On The Amazon?" You would enjoy it. Anyway I also lived in Arcata! 1977 to 1980 Marching Lumberjack and all that.

Small banana slug world isn't it?

I'm going to put you on my blog list. saravinas.blog.spot.com aka the Cracker Jack Poet

peace out indeed--happy trails too

Sara

Vince Gotera said...

Cool, Sara. Thanks. Are you on fb? Let's talk there about HSU and Arcata!

De said...

:)
http://whimsygizmo.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/go-on-over-and-get-you-some-blue-guitar/

SaraV said...

Yes indeedy. I'll look for you

SaraV said...

Yes indeedy. I'll look for you

Laurie Kolp said...

I love De... this is a great thing you're doing here, Vince... can't wait.

Vince Gotera said...

Laurie, did you see your feature?

Vince Gotera said...

De, THANKS!

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