Oulipost #1: Quote Cento

oulipost 1 quote cento

Oulipost begins today!

Every day this April, nearly 80 poets will write one poem per day by applying constrained writing techniques sourced from the Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle — or “workshop of potential literature”) group to text sourced from their daily local newspaper. This is the first of thirty prompts in the Oulipost project.

Oulipost #1: Quote Cento

When composing a cento, poets take lines from existing poems (traditionally without any alterations) and patch them together to form a new poem. Today, create a cento using only quotes referenced in newspaper articles. For example, if a newspaper article contained the line “It was a tragedy,” commented Detective Smith, the line, “It was a tragedy,” would be available for you to use in your poem. While you can’t change anything within the quotes themselves, you may choose to break a longer quote in half or use just part of a quote as needed.

Variations:

  • Purist? Challenge yourself to write your cento using only complete quotes (sentences) as they appear in your articles.
  • Add an additional constraint by challenging yourself to use only quotes sourced from a single article, single newspaper page or single newspaper section.

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