Oulipoem 29: 29 April — Canada Dry

29 Apr

As hard as the run has been, I am appalled that I cannot stop tomorrow from being the 30th. Is it 2015 yet? Be sure to see what other Ouliposters did with the freedom of this prompt, particularly Nancy Chen Long.

The prompt:

This was the most fun, so far, because the prompt let us be almost free from constraint. The only real constraint — aside from our brains — is that the words have to come from the newspaper. My added constraint: one article. ‘The name of this procedure is taken from the soft drink marketed as “the champagne of ginger ales.” The drink may have bubbles, but it isn’t champagne. In the words of Paul Fournel, who coined the term, a Canada Dry text “has the taste and color of a restriction but does not follow a restriction.” (A musical example is Andrew Bird’s “Fake Palindromes.”)  Be creative, and write a poem sourced from your newspaper that sounds like it’s been Oulipo-ed, but hasn’t.’

I found an article on yesterday’s tornadoes and pulled all the phrases and words I wanted to work from. I almost left them as the fading form, below. Out of curiosity, I wandered over to Language is a Virus and tried out a couple of their tools. I went nuts with the Gyroscope tool and ended up using bits of Whitman, Pound and cummings, as far as stylistic devices. The line-breaks and order are mine, as well as some shuffling. The Oulipo constraints I might have been using are N-7, Chimera, and the Lescurean Permutation.

The original words:

skies darkened rain lashed unrecognisable unscathed
lashing ripped demolished volatile swirled collapse
combing through debris spawned outbreak
trees stripped clean of bark
roar roared touching down
grass scorched brown
a bedsheet hung from
an electrical pole
hurt upon

The poem:

give me clean hurt skies
give me darkened grass
— collapsed lashing —
give me a roar where the skies’
hurt grows, lashing through
debris spawned outbreak
roared swirled stripped hung
the branches ripped out of me
like arms

blue you are
brown you are
skies you are
swirled — so high — you are

the outbreak has ripped my hurt,
the hurt has collapsed my unscathed

stripped you are
and you are roar
with stripped bark above
volatile — so swirled — you are
and all this is dark to the unscathed

stripped I am

The source:

Campoy, Ana, Dan Frosch and Miguel Bustillo. ‘States Reckon With Tornadoes’ Toll’ The Wall Street Journal 29 April 2014


Posted by on 29/04/2014 in exercises, oulipost, poetry


Tags: , , , , , ,

12 responses to “Oulipoem 29: 29 April — Canada Dry

  1. barbcrary

    29/04/2014 at 12:56 pm

    Touched,I am. Love, I do. What imagery and emotion you’ve expressed here, Margo.

    • margo roby

      29/04/2014 at 12:58 pm

      They took the reins off me, Barb! I RAN!

  2. Elizabeth Evans

    29/04/2014 at 2:14 pm

    Wheee! I love it. I love love love Gyroscope too! Thanks.

  3. Nancy Chen Long

    29/04/2014 at 4:51 pm

    thanks much for the shout-out, Margo. your poem is wonderful. with the lack of conventional punctuation and the way the lines break, i get a whirling feeling when I read it–so effective!

  4. Misky

    29/04/2014 at 5:47 pm

    Really wonderful.

    I’m out all day tomorrow. My cousin is landing at Heathrow for a layover enroute to Milan. Doubt that I’ll manage Day 30 tomorrow but maybe I’ll be allowed to post it a day late.


    • margo roby

      29/04/2014 at 5:58 pm

      You’ll be in good company, Misky. Plenty of people will be posting late. We have some people a week behind. Not to worry. Tomorrow’s is a lot of fun. I have my lines collected from all my poems and tomorrow I’ll play. Enjoy your day out.

  5. whimsygizmo

    29/04/2014 at 5:54 pm

    Oh, my. Breathtaking, Margo.
    “give me clean hurt skies
    give me darkened grass
    – collapsed lashing –”

    Just beautiful, all.

    I don’t feel like I did true freedom any real justice, but I’m here:

    • margo roby

      29/04/2014 at 6:00 pm

      This qualifies as my favourite, de. ‘I don’t feel like I did true freedom any real justice’ — it’s funny: a couple of people have watched the people who threw off the chains, with great dissatisfaction, and are planning to redo theirs!


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