It’s been a little over two weeks since the end of Oulipost, and although the project is over, the poems are still just as enjoyable. In April, the Found Poetry Review editorial team put together a half-time report including some highlights from the first half of Oulipost. Since the end of the month, we’ve been compiling highlights from the second half of the project. Here’s a sample:
Leave it to the Jenni and Beth for planning the difficult ones for the end of the Oulipost calendar! Most of us went into the project dreading the sestina constraint in the middle of the month, but the constraints at the end of the month had poets challenging their conceptions of language. We were asking ourselves some really progressive questions, such as – to quote on Ouliposter – “what’s the opposite of Leroy?”
Thomas Hintze’s Irrational Sonnet (#27) is a study of chaos theory combining the human interaction and unintended consequences within its frame – covering a seemingly irrational cause-and-effect with an “irrational” form.
Who doesn’t love a poem in which cannibals try to reason their selves with themselves? Joseph Harker’s work on prompt #23 (Inventory) did just that.
Sonja Johanson’s poem “Specific Artifice” for #22 (Antonymy) looks at a number of opposites that consciously makes a u-turn on the language of the article she chose while her speaker makes another.
The “Beautiful Outlaw” constraint allowed Andrew Klein to explore a speaker’s connection to environment as well combined with a sense of stasis, though oceans “[sing] differential”, “the city still holds / where they grew up”
The last challenge, the “Patchwork Quilt” required poets to sum up their entire month of work using lines from their previous 29 poems for a 30th installment. While, for all of the poets, the experience of Oulipost and the poems created will live beyond April, Kristin McDonald addresses how many things are transitory in her last piece.
Now that April is over, I’m not sure where I found the time to write 30 poems in 30 days. Kudos to my fellow Ouliposters on completing the project. I hope you’re enjoying all your extra free time (haha). Reading and re-reading the poems of others has me thinking more seriously about how I might apply some Oulipo constraints going forward. Here are some of the poems that stood out to me during the second half of the month:
Sara Adams’ Patchwork Quilt, “we were so on,” for its voice.
Katy Acheson’s Homosyntaxim, for bending the rules and using 100-year-old local news.
Mildred Achoch’s Irrational Sonnet, “Shillings and Saints,” for using found language to convey a powerful political message.
E. Kristin Anderson’s Beautiful Outlaw, “January, mouthing words, blinking.” For enduring an enormously challenging constraint to produce a gorgeous poem:
Roxanna Bennett’s Homosyntaxims, “The Crushing Myth,” for the line, “This is the heartfelt truth – Unless it’s not.”
Nathalie Boisard-Beudin’s Melting Snowball because it sounds great even though I don’t understand Italian.
Barbara Crary’s Larding, “Typical American Themes,” for inventing a new form out of the constraint.
Amanda Earl’s Beautiful Outlaw, “Romeo,” for use of Excel and Shakespeare in the same poem.