I’m starting this blog for several reasons, but first and foremost because of a National Poetry Month challenge I signed up for called Oulipost 2014.
Some definitions I found to wrap my head around the challenge:
Found Poetry, “The literary version of a collage. Poets select a source text or texts — anything from traditional texts like books, magazines and newspapers to more nontraditional sources like product packaging, junk mail or court transcripts — then excerpt words and phrases from the text(s) to create a new piece.
Oulipo: A loose gathering of (mainly) French-speaking writers and mathematicians which seeks to create works using constrained writing techniques. It was founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais.
Constraints are used as a means of triggering ideas and inspiration, most notably Perec’s “story-making machine”, which he used in the construction of Life A User’s Manual. As well as established techniques, such as lipograms (Perec’s novel A Void) and palindromes, the group devises new techniques, often based on mathematical problems, such as the knight’s tour of the chess-board and permutations.
So okay, creating found poetry employing some of these Oulipo constraints and using a local newspaper for all source material. One piece every day for the month of April. The first assignment is an introductory interview, and mine is below:
1. What excites you about Oulipost? I am an aspiring documentary theatre artist and poet, and so the idea of found poetry gets me reeal excited to begin with. I also love word games and puzzles, so the constraints are very attractive to me in that way. I’m at a juncture in my life where the most exciting thing I can think of is giving myself opportunities to fail, and to fail in big broad strokes, and there seems to be a relatively good chance of some failure here.
2. What, if anything, scares you about Oulipost? Putting “incomplete” or unpolished work out into the universe.
3. Have you written experimental or found poetry before? Nope!
4. What newspaper will serve as your source text? The Chicago Tribune
5. Who is your Spirit Oulipian? After five minutes of research, I henceforth declare it to be Stanley Chapman. He helped found the National Theatre, which produces some beautiful documentary theatre work, and I’ve never met a Stanley I didn’t like.