amongst books

amongst books

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oulipost #27: Irrational Sonnet

The man only wants to be identified as Jay
I don’t want to go back to having to score it on the street, let’s put it that way
with full uniform deployment for visibility

it’s not the rates, it’s the delivery charge that’s killing us
several young people participated in a live interactive digital graffiti
Council will be voting on a motion to oppose the bill on Wednesday
going hungry every day is not OK:
take part in a variety of activities

the Clean Energy Bill is costing us

they’re gonna close up the books, if they have to keep up with this
Webhead and Electro face off in new Spidey flick
after the city’s snowiest
groups learn about poverty and injustice
it isn’t something that hits you like a ton of bricks


Create a 14-line sonnet sourced from lines from your newspaper that is divided according to the first five digits of the irrational number pi – that is, into stanzas of 3, 1, 4, 1 and 5 lines. As with the preceding sonnet assignment (see April 14) you may interpret “sonnet” as formally or as loosely as you wish.


Helmer, Aedan “Chiarelli on Hot Seat” the Ottawa Sun e-dition. 27 April 2014. 3.
Carruthers, Dale. QMI Agency “Medical Pot Users Left Hanging by Recall.” Ibid. 6.
Taylor, Sarah. “Finding Your Real Self.” Ibid. 8.
QMI Agency. “Groups rip Tory election bill.” Ibid. 9.
Author unknown. “These kids a ‘fast’ bunch.” Ibid. 12.
QMI Agency. “Japan diet will add to life.” Ibid. 13.
Author unknown. “Worst weather ever.” Ibid. 18.
Editorial Board. “Wynne Zaps Us Again On Electricity.” Ibid. 20.


The Oulipo Compendium goes on to specify a rhyming scheme as part of the supplementary rules for the form. I tried that, but I was sometimes satisfied with near rhyme & I certainly didn’t try to keep with a specific number of syllables as suggested.

The OC stipulates four rhymes distributed as follows:


which I’ve done this way:

Jay/Way/visibility; us; graffiti/Wednesday/OK/activities; us; this/flick/snowiest/injustice/bricks.

it doesn’t come off as very rhymey. also with this break up, I don’t see any turn possible.

another great source offered to understand this irrational sonnet form by fellow Ouliposter Nancy Long is Intersections – Poetry withMathematics. I find the sample irrational sonnets offered in both the OC & on this site to be much more regular in meter & rhyme than what I’ve created here from the paper. also I admit to not trying very hard to make some kind of uniform topic, but I’m ok with that.  I did a few small alterations to make the lines fit with each other, such as removing a “who” from the initial quote I used for line 1. took out the words hydro from the first single line.

as always, check out the work of my fellow Ouliposters here.

we're in the home stretch, as the saying goes. just wait until you see what's coming...

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