Oulipo 19: April 10 — Sestina

19 Apr

Sestinas have enough constraints with their form, or so you might think. Now, place the extra constraint of having to source all your words from the newspaper. Exactly. A moment of silence, please.

I had an idea. Granted it might be considered weaseling (I thought of it as damn clever), my brain was willing to go with it. I was halfway through the sixth stanza (the next to last, people), when my brain reminded me that all the words had to come from the newspaper. The only things I had drawn from the paper were the end words and some names. Another moment of silence, if you will.

I decided to go bare bones with my original idea. I’m not thrilled with either but I have two sestinas (my first), so I am posting both. The first follows the rules strictly; the second is the one I was almost through when my brain murmured at me. I amused myself by posting it as was at the moment my brain so murmured, lacking the envoi and unformatted.

For those who do not know sestinas try this by Amanda Earl, keeping in mind she had to take everything from the paper. For other sestinas, as they come in, keep an eye on the Found Poetry Review‘s sestina page. My favourite, sent around as inspiration is ‘Six Words‘ by poet Lloyd Schwartz. What is the form? Check this page.

The poem by the rules:

So Many Channels, So Little Time

Weather Center Live in the mornings @ 7
Good Morning America on ABC @ 9
This Old House PBS @11
Thursdays: first round PGA Golf is on @ 1
but switches channels to CBS @ 3
Antiques Roadshow on PBS for three hours ๐Ÿ™‚ @ 5

Or, early, early, Wolfgang Puck Presents @ 5 (a.m.!)
followed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns @ 7 (a.m.!)
[QVC’s How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep (irony) was @ 3]
Sesame Street on PBS @ 9
Maybe, Rick Steves’ Europe… Italy? England? @ 1
Still up, watching Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown @11

Sometimes, in the mornings, A Taste of Louisiana @ 11
following the early, early, Wolfgang Puck Presents @ 5.
Fridays: second round PGA Golf is on @ 1
Most evenings Jeopardy and the Wheel @ 7
Saturday? Yes, it’s Saturday: As Time Goes By @ 9
Early/late — Highway Through Hell (weather) @ 3

On weekday afternoons, Closing Bell @ 3
Late at night, CSI: Miami @ 11
Earlier,ย  Charlie Rose: The Week @ 9
Today’s early weekend movie, Avatar @ 5
Laugh with the movie Down Periscope @ 7
Late, late night, Big Ass Spider! on Syfy @ 1

PGA Golf third round play @ 1
Still watching PGA Golf @ 3
Nothing on = Gilligan’s Island @ 7
followed by Everybody Loves Raymond @ 11
Wake up with BBC News @ 5
Have coffee with the Travel Channel @ 9

Hours of The Big Bang Theory @ 9
Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Diners, Drive-ins… @ 1
Continue waking up with BBC News @ 5
Final Round of PGA Golf @ 3
Hours earlier, Golf Pre-game [yes, golf, pre-game] @ 11
Post evening meal, Marijuana in America CNBC @ 7

From cooking at 9 to redesigning houses at 3
From weekend movies at 1 to sports’ recaps at 11
From morning news at 5 to evening games at 7

so many channels, so little time

If you are still with me, the original poem (I am leaving it unformatted; easier on the eyes):

In the morning, I watch the weather at 7;
Good Morning America is my background at 9
and I might shift to This Old House at 11;
PGA Golf takes care ofย  four days, starting at 1
but I have to switch channels from Golf to CBS at 3;
Happy hour is spent Naked and Afraid at 5.

Often, I am cooking dinner when 5
rolls around, but I can hear the narrative. Then, at 7
it’s the night-time shows which the 3
of us watch together until I go read at 9.
If I can’t sleep I’ll turn the TV on at 1–
I’ll drink my Ovaltine and pretend it’s 11-sies.

If I’ve been up the night before, I pay by 11
and drag around until my husband returns at 5.
I’ll have had my third coffee early, say around 1
another at three, but am dozing in the recliner by 7.
I like to doze to NCIS, or CSI, maybe Castle, until 9
but I try to stay awake, so I won’t be up at 3

because we know what happens when we’re up at 3
we’re staring blankly at the computer screen by 11
as if we’d run a marathon, or thought it might be 9
at night, but of course it isn’t. I have to make it to 5
because there’s dinner and those shows I mentioned, at 7;
but maybe, if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll be asleep at 1

and sleep four, maybe five hours in a row. It’s 1
of the items on my bucket list, sleeping well. Maybe 3
times a year it happens, but I’m off topic. Sometimes at 7,
if it’s a weekend, we treat ourselves to a movie until 11.
On weekdays, I am up with my husband at 5
but on weekends, I strive mightily to stay in bed until 9

Maybe today, I’ll watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer at 9,
rather than weather. The reruns take me to 1
and then I’ll have coffee, so I can make it to 5
make dinner, watch Castle, or CSI Miami, sometimes 3
in a row before bedtime rolls around again at 11.
In the mornings, I watch the Weather Channel at 7

9 3
1 11
5 7


Comcast’s TVGuide



Posted by on 19/04/2014 in exercises, oulipost, poems, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , ,

23 responses to “Oulipo 19: April 10 — Sestina

  1. Misky

    19/04/2014 at 2:50 pm

    I used the entire book review article, plus some from the gardening section.


    • margo roby

      19/04/2014 at 2:59 pm

      Clever, the mix with the gardening. I almost went with a review of book comparing Dante’s Divine Comedy to a self-help book but could not fins the energy.

      Tomorrow’s looks to be a light bit of fluff. Thank goodness.

      • Misky

        19/04/2014 at 4:29 pm

        Fluff I can do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. barbcrary

    19/04/2014 at 2:53 pm

    See how clever you are, Ms. Robey? Just see? I KNEW you’d come up with something fun – and fine.

    • margo roby

      19/04/2014 at 2:57 pm

      Grin. My brain’s murmuring again, Barbara. It’s reminding me there will be another poem tomorrow! I don’t dare look.

  3. whimsygizmo

    19/04/2014 at 5:12 pm

    You clever, clever girl, you. LOVE the ending with numbers. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I groaned. And then I found a great article, and grinned. It turned to a grimace for a little while, but then, this:

  4. Yousei Hime

    19/04/2014 at 5:59 pm

    You are a brave women.

    • Yousei Hime

      19/04/2014 at 6:00 pm

      Wow. I obviously haven’t had enough caffeine today. Woman, a brave woman. *hopping off to brew*

      • margo roby

        19/04/2014 at 8:49 pm

        I don’t know, Yousei, it might have been women to take writing this!

        • Yousei Hime

          19/04/2014 at 9:49 pm

          ๐Ÿ˜€ I agree. What a prompt. Too intimidating for me. Did you see Joseph’s take on it? Pretty good for a sore-throated poet. (Sounds like an exotic bird.)

          • margo roby

            20/04/2014 at 8:56 am

            ๐Ÿ˜€ Joseph is an exotic bird. [Now I’ll have to go bird hunting to find which]

            • Yousei Hime

              20/04/2014 at 10:18 am

              I thought about the Turquoise-browed Motmot (but it’s not musical enough). Maybe the Cerulean Warbler or the Japanese White-Eye. I thought this video of the last bird was rather funny.

              • margo roby

                20/04/2014 at 10:31 am

                Cute, but not exotic enough. Now, the Cerulean Warbler, maybe :-). I’ve posted so I’m off to look at birds, too![The Japanese White-Eye continues to trill as I type]

                • Yousei Hime

                  20/04/2014 at 10:33 am

                  I do love that Cerulean. That video was delightful. I always wondered if birds respond to human music. I’ve heard recordings of slowed birdsong and only just come to realize how complex their music is. There is definitely a Harker warbler out there.

  5. margo roby

    20/04/2014 at 10:36 am

    We ran out of reply space, Yousei! The Harker Warbler. I like it you know. his own bird, so to speak. We need green in there: The Emerald Harker Warbler? [Joseph, are you there?]

    • Yousei Hime

      21/04/2014 at 12:22 pm

      Yes, yes. I do recall seeing a emerald crested Harker in the recent past. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • margo roby

        23/04/2014 at 8:30 pm

        emerald crested Harker — perfect!

    • margo roby

      23/04/2014 at 8:31 pm

      Cool beans! I tried to leave a comment but comments are hiding! Thank you for the heads up.

      • whimsygizmo

        23/04/2014 at 8:33 pm

        Can I has yer autograff? ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • margo roby

          23/04/2014 at 8:37 pm

          Grin. I did just learn how to do an electronic signature!


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