amongst books

amongst books

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Oulipost # 30: Patchwork Quilt

Notes from the Last Clerk’s Cupboard

I misname a nobody who harvests facts[1]
unbound papers and text-based biographies[2]

everyone hoards his parts — insides & everything, kicking[3]
they aren’t thundering up an aisle[4]

he’s a curse. they thrilled you[5]
remove our fingertips from your bones[6], kisses from the elbow[7]

forget about a blank wall[8]: we do not want to die[9]
frequent  displacements do not require optional indifferences[10]

we asked her if she’s loose-leafed[11]
you aren’t a woman without the high silence[12]

an angel does not die slowly from modesty[13]
unlike the place where you were an old woman[14]

a mansion is frozen to a sky, coming together[15]
a reality of utopia growing — introversion disappears[16]

an airy outdoors gladness gives you[17]
below an ear this ebb[18]

here is less than drained praise[19]
the decreasing need to stay adults alone[20]

common division of ease: moon-night, day[21]
In chains of iron and a helmet of red[22]

sailing for the quiet of open spaces[23]
vanishes after the feel of them[24]

their own flower wishes[25]
a quiet compliment left at exactly 2 a.m.[26]

a closing end is a virtuous, ethereal end[27]
no trouble outside hell[28]

like a starfish at work[29]
I don’t know how to give up[30]


Conclude the project by writing a poem that incorporates the words and lines from all of your past 29 poems.


For this last exercise, I have cheated hook, line & sinker, all out. I haven’t used lines from my own poems but from the poems of my fellow Ouliposters as a way of paying homage to their work. [Note to Ouliposters whose lines I have stolen…I have removed the occasional word to make your text fit with the whole or in the hole, if you prefer.] All of the lines have been purloined from the Antonymy exercise. The brilliant, inventive & surprising poetry that this exercise generated was very satisfying to experience, both as a reader & a writer. 

The title of the poem comes from my own Antonymy poem in which I wrote about the opposite of the Prime Minister’s Office.

I have had the great fortune of working elbow to elbow with fantastically inventive poets for the month of April. heroically they wrote poems in response to difficult constraints, including those fussy old monsters: Mother Time & Father Nature. We were fortunate to have the guidance of Jenni Baker, Beth Ayer, & Doug Luman of the Found Poetry Review, or as I like to call him, Angel Luman, for his marvelous tools & spreadsheets that saved time & were fun to play with. 

Thanks to the newspapers who unwittingly provided me with source material: the Ottawa Citizen from Monday to Saturday, & the Ottawa Sun on Sundays. This month-long exercise inspired me to read parts of the paper which I do not normally read: the Driving section, Sports, Classified Ads, the Astrology section. It was a revelation, especially the Driving section on Fridays, which was full of colourful language.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I wasn’t expecting to connect poetically with a variety of poets from all over the place. I don’t know what I was expecting really, but I have to say that the best part of this exercise has been the people. Poets from Kenya, Canada & Texas, Wales & Italy, Toronto & Arizona, Utah & Louisiana, Ottawa, of course, Brooklyn & Montreal, New Jersey & Carleton Place, to name a few. Thanks to the Found Poetry Review, all the participants & those of you who read these offerings, who commented & who gave me encouragement throughout the process. It has been, as the kids say, a slice.

Take a look at the work of my fellow Ouliposters for the last time for this project, but if you like their work, perhaps you'd like to follow them.

SOURCES {Sorcerers & Sorceresses}

[1] Barbara Crary –  Saying the Opposite
[2] Elizabeth Evans McNabb –  Tragic Unbound Papers
[3] Doug Luman –  the Living Hymnal
[4] Mary Sexson –  Nobody Funerals Stay High-Lock
[5] Raymond Cummings –  False Lateral
[6] Melanie Wilson –  Everyone’s Sober Aunt
[7] Jody Rich –  the Abbatoir in the Ocean
[8] Jennifer Hamilton –  Good, Good Yorel Blue
[9] Lillian Necakov –  Condemned Non-Republic
[10] Matthew Trease –  An oft-occuring  composure departs before brief existences
[11] Nancy Long –  For a death of us
[12] Carol A. Stephen –  A Silence Out of Mid-Summer
[13] Kristina McDonald –  Threat Assessment – A Triptych
[14] Sonja Johanson –  Specific Artifice
[16] Margo Roby –  untitled
[17] Jenni Baker –  untitled
[18] Ngawang Pema –  a most bizarre fish
[19] Lylanne Musselman –  Detroit Is Dangerous Already
[20] Roxanna Bennett –  Not the Stuff of Headlines
[21] Richard Thompson –  wellness departs from beneficent infinity
[22] Kate Moore –  légion d’horreur
[23] Winston Plowes –  Come Back Smooth-Wood
[24] Joseph Harker –  Pine Barren Rangers Raise Outcry over Hunting Permits
[25] Andrea Dickens –  Invasive Species
[26] Andrew Sargus Klein –  A Cataloguing of Sainthood
[27] Trish Hopkinson –  Flat Sunset
[28] Mildred Achoch –  untitled
[29] Thomas Hintze –  Not A Lion
[30] Marty Elwell –  Mantra


Anonymous said...

Brava! I have enjoyed your company. You were my watchword each morning. Thank you. said...

What an awesome idea - and so well done. applause, applause...

Amanda Earl said...

thanks Margo & James :) i was glad to read your work daily. what are we to do!

Anonymous said...

"In chains of iron and a helmet of red

sailing for the quiet of open spaces

vanishes after the feel of them."


Amanda Earl said...

thanks, Lewis.