Oulipoem 23: April 23 — Inventory…

23 Apr

.. not just any inventory, but one that requires knowing the parts of speech, or at least knowing how to look them up. I love the possibilities of list poems. I think today’s technology lends itself to list poems and creative presentations. However, I am a tech-challenged person, so while I thought,Yes! Great concrete poem potential!’ I wrote a regular looking poem.

The prompt:

‘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… Bonus points for creative presentation of your final lists.’

If you are still wandering around in search of inspiration, check out Mildred, Jody, and Winston. They’ll show you just how far out you can go.

I was lucky in my source material. The Wall Street Journal has an article on flowers with, yep, lists of flowers. I parsed the article and tried to keep the parts of speech as distinguished from each other as possible, depending on what the poem needed.

The poem:


garden field farm

pick pluck select

photinia, lilac, astilbe
coral charm peony,
japhet orchid and Juliet
garden rose

choose collect snip

rosemary, basil, dill,
kale, artichokes, short stemmed
anemone, sweet pea,
and sunflowers

sprinkle spread place

flax, acacia, jasmine,
long-stemmed roses,
powdery stephanotis,  lilies
and hydrangeas

create build stand

dahlias, iris, sprigs
of rosemary, grandmother’s
peonies, white Japanese
ranunculus and hyacinth

snip remove arrange

bouquet flowers foliage
flowers flowers foliage stems
leaves stems spray greenery
Queen Anne’s lace blooms
foliage flowers bouquet
sprigs blooms flowers flowers

raw focal accent linear loose
hand-tied floral seasonal ideal
idealized ephemeral delicate
uncommon unique unusual
local bohemian wild short tall
manicured dated intimate lush


tall glass vases, canning jars,
buckets, vintage pewter,
ceramic bowls, clear glass,
clay pots and mason jars.

The source:

Dizik, Alina. ‘Even Flowers Try to Be Chic’ Personal Journal The Wall Street Journal 23 April 2014


Posted by on 23/04/2014 in exercises, oulipost, poetry


Tags: , , , , , ,

10 responses to “Oulipoem 23: April 23 — Inventory…

  1. Misky

    23/04/2014 at 3:18 pm

    Wonderful treat!! Mine’s written under pressure and lack of time. Apologies to Oulipo-world.

  2. whimsygizmo

    23/04/2014 at 3:25 pm

    Whew. This was a bit of a pain. 😉

    I love love love all the soundbump in yours. I bought an antique book once about flowers and plants. What fantastic language is used to name and describe them!

    • margo roby

      23/04/2014 at 3:43 pm

      I loved playing with the sounds in this one. Makes me want to live with flower names for a while.

  3. barbcrary

    23/04/2014 at 4:03 pm

    Jealous. This turned out so very well, Margo. You’re right about all those lovely growing things making for a fine poem.

    • margo roby

      23/04/2014 at 4:06 pm

      It was hard to go wrong.

      For tomorrow, look for a weird piece of syntax, the odder the better. then list as many replacement sentences as you can come up with. Yes, I cracked it!

  4. Misky

    24/04/2014 at 5:01 am

    Finally had a chance to read what the others have created (thanks for those links!). FAB!!

  5. nwian

    25/04/2014 at 5:42 pm

    • margo roby

      25/04/2014 at 5:59 pm

      It was one of my favourites to do!


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