Oulipoem 17: April 17 — Haikuisation

17 Apr

If you are enjoying reading these, be sure to head over to today’s haiku page at the Found Poetry Review.

The prompt:

‘The haiku is a Japanese poetic form whose most obvious feature is the division of its 17 syllables into lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Haikuisation has sometimes been used by Oulipians to indicate the reduction of verses of normal length to lines of haiku-like brevity. Select three sentences from a single newspaper article and ‘haiku’ them.’

The process:

One thing I love about our oulipo-ing ourselves [aside from taking oulipo and creating every part of speech in existence for it], is that we can constrain the constraints, or tweak them. In the haikuisation of sentences in the newspaper, I went with ‘haiku-like brevity’ from the rules above. The one thing I tried to maintain is the volta, the turn from beginning to end, which in haiku, is rather abrupt.

The poem:


When you’re feeling foul
it isn’t easy to be fair —
your effort is appreciated.


Before it’s too late
straighten out these mixed signals:
you are pushing someone away.


When tempers are tense
you need to watch what you say:
insinuate, don’t agitate.


Profitable contacts are about;
you want to meet and greet.
Don’t let today go to waste.


For more breathing room
reshuffling is in order —
discover along the way.


Someone’s checking you out,
you, too preoccupied to notice —
offer an opening.


Skip the obvious choice;
only one will go the distance.
Go with the underdog.


People think you’re tough;
you should be more obvious.
Wear your heart on your sleeve.


You may not have the answer
to someone’s woes, but time.
Hours with you banish the blues.


Just another interview?
Stay alert. This could pan out
into something exciting.


Don’t try to cool the fires:
let tempers flare fierce and bright —
people will see reason soon.


Take a chance on love —
it’s better than sitting on the fence
watching the world go by.

The source:

Renstrom, Christopher. ‘HOROSCOPE’ San Francisco Chronicle 4/17/14

Yes, yes, I did have entirely too much fun.


Posted by on 17/04/2014 in exercises, oulipost, poems, poetry


Tags: , , , , , ,

20 responses to “Oulipoem 17: April 17 — Haikuisation

  1. julespaige

    17/04/2014 at 11:06 am

    That’s cool taking the Hororscope and haiku-ing it.

    I did this with one of Elizabeth’s lists, plus a new short form:

    • margo roby

      17/04/2014 at 11:10 am

      It was a lot of fun, Jules.

      New? Ooh! Coming right over.

  2. Sonja Johanson

    17/04/2014 at 11:47 am

    Margo, what an awesome idea! The Virgo is my favourite one; also like Libra.

  3. Carol Carlisle

    17/04/2014 at 11:51 am

    This is your second one using horoscopes, they sound so much better in a poets hand.
    I’ll hop to haikuing soon…

    • margo roby

      17/04/2014 at 12:36 pm

      Hop away, Carol!

      If I had an email where I could reach Renstrom I’d thank him, but he’s shy: no email published.

  4. sonjajohanson10

    17/04/2014 at 11:52 am

    Margo, what a fantastic idea! Virgo is my favourite, great vento on that one. Also like Libra.

    • margo roby

      17/04/2014 at 12:44 pm

      I’m glad you said something. When I went to see which they were, I found the author’s name trying to sneak into one of the haiku. I previewed! Really!

  5. Yousei Hime

    17/04/2014 at 12:22 pm

    I had a feeling I’d love this, just from the post title. I was right. Might try it myself. 🙂

    • margo roby

      17/04/2014 at 12:35 pm

      It does make the exercise fun, Yousei!

  6. james w. moore

    17/04/2014 at 3:36 pm

    fantastic. what a great idea! and well-executed too.

    • margo roby

      17/04/2014 at 3:38 pm

      Thank you, Sir! I’m building my self confidence against the next two prompts.

      • james w. moore

        17/04/2014 at 3:39 pm

        i’m pretending the next two prompts don’t exist. they’ll just magically happen somehow. the oulipost fairy, perhaps?

        • margo roby

          17/04/2014 at 3:43 pm

          Laughing. I like it, james, but I don’t like our chances.

  7. lylannemusselman

    17/04/2014 at 6:56 pm

    Margo, your haikuisation for Virgo gives me renewed hope. You should start your own column! 😉 Great idea with the horoscope themes you’ve had of late. I like them a lot.

  8. whimsygizmo

    17/04/2014 at 10:35 pm

    You are having way too much fun with horoscopes. Love it. 🙂
    As a Sag on the cusp of Cap, I’m happy to hear that “Hours with you banish the blues.” And how very true. 🙂

    I’m here:

  9. 1sojournal

    17/04/2014 at 11:09 pm

    You are having fun and I’m glad you share it with all of us. I like these poetic horoscopes, somehow they are far more direct and maybe even personal,


    • margo roby

      18/04/2014 at 7:24 am

      Elizabeth! How lovely to see you. I have been following your own prompts and wishing I can handle more than one.



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