The Cold Tap Sings

the p-word

Tag: Oulipo

ON NARCISSISM – A RIDDLE

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On Narcissism – A Riddle

Not all texts employ the poet’s dearest tool. 

‘What tool could that be?’ you ask. 

‘A pen?’ 

No. 

‘The Muses?’ 

No. 

‘Language?’ 

Close. Not language, exactly, but a component of language – a symbol, a glyph. 

‘What symbol?’ 

Some typefaces bestow crossbars on the uppercase character to form a columnar shape, but the symbol doesn’t always support the complex structure of language, for the very text that you read not once employs the self-centred letter. Trust me, you can check – use your eyes.

MAINTENANT!

Here’s a collaborative group poem written with my fellow students at the Poetry School. SJ Fowler kindly stood in for me because I couldn’t be at the performance. As you can see, it went swimmingly – even without aquatic mammals.

GANDALF CAN’T HACK GRANTHAM

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Gandalf Can’t Hack Grantham

Aghast at Grantham’s haphazard
castaways and charlatans, Gandalf
casts gallant charms. Abracadabra!
Alakazam!
Grantham has razzmatazz.

EEZY

Take that, Perec!

MARSHLANDS

A univocalism is a poetic form that enables the use of one vowel and one vowel only. It was pioneered by Oulipo, a group of bonkers French writers and mathematicians, who believe(d) that linguistic restraint reveals the true nature of the unconscious. Here’s one that only includes A.

***

Marshlands

A jackdaw darts past
a dark landmass
and lands
athwart a black branch.
Gnats swarm.
Stags brawl.
Swans arch.
Hark! A hawk snags a lark.
Sharp claws hack, slash, dash.
Dastardly, a flash hawk snacks.

***

You can read some of my other formal experiments here. Discover more about Oulipo here [French].