Tag Archives: Horoscope

Oulipoem 17: April 17 — Haikuisation

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


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Oulipoem 14: April 14 — Article to Ads, Column Inches

I can be a little slow. Admittedly, my focus has been divided a trifle, the past two weeks. There are many, many talented poets writing in the Oulipo Challenge, official and un-! Please wander over to their site on the Found Poetry Review and check a few out each day. For the unofficials, check the links in my comments, each day. There have been so many wonderfully creative poems.

The prompt:

‘Refer to the advertising section or the classifieds in your source newspaper. Create a poem by replacing all of the nouns in your chosen ad segment or classified listing with nouns from one article in the same newspaper. You may use multiple ads/classifieds, presented in the order of your choosing.’ Today’s prompt was a challenge until I saw Mildred’s response. Then, I knew what I wanted to do or, at least, had a direction.

The process:

Although I am back in Atlanta, my paper, the Wall Street Journal, lacks a few things, like classifieds, so I headed for the San Francisco Chronicle online to find what I needed: Horoscopes + Classifieds, a marriage made in, well… I ended up with something other than I started. I had a column of phrases from the classifieds and a column of nouns from the horoscope. I tried matching them to tell a story, but when I noticed a shape, I added a constraint: The lines had to lead up to and away from the longest line. That’s when I ended up with something I like better than the first something.

The poem:

[This is what I had when I went to open my document in Notepad, just now: no file… anywhere. I searched. I don’t have the heart, or the energy, to recreate the poem, so am not going to, but it did occur to me that I needed to post this for links to be left! So, write poems. Post poems. Leave links. I shall retire to a corner and weep piteously. Piteously, I tell you.]


Where is     life?

lost      chapter
missing      page
searching for      faith
looking for       history
looking to      old habits
trying to locate     a map
desperately seeking      balance
in search of     a  translation
looking to find      changes
looking for an old      risk
hoping to find      nerves
if you know      people

I loved you     once

I didn’t even get your      name
please call, I miss     stars

truly, madly, deeply,


The source:

HOROSCOPE for Monday, 4/14/14 by Christopher Renstrom – SFGate


Posted by on 14/04/2014 in exercises, oulipost, poems, poetry, writing


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