Oulipost #30: Patchwork Quilt

Day 30. I made it. A poem everyday, composed from the Toledo Blade guided by an Oulipo prompt each day. When I started out, I had no idea what was going to happen. I keep so busy with teaching and all sorts of other writing and art commitments, that I was afraid I wouldn’t have time and this would go by the wayside. But I found that doing this became something I needed to do. It was not a burden – not any of the days this month, no matter if I was visiting family and friends in Indiana, participating in poetry readings for National Poetry Month, grading, socializing with friends, and meeting someone new. There was room for it all. I gained a lot, and I will write about that on this blog soon. For today, I’m going to present you with my last poem as one of the National Poetry Month 2014 “Official Ouliposters,”one of the 67 poets from around the world (sponsored by The Found Poetry Review) that got to participate this year and I was fortunate enough to come to know over this month. Today, in our final prompt, we were asked to do a Patchwork Quilt. A poem that compiles lines and words from every poem we’ve written this month. What I did was just go through each day and select one, sometimes two lines, from each poem and on the “Snowball” days at least two to three words from those – to compose my poem. It was interesting to see how even though I felt I was working on “Toledo” poems, several other themes came shining through more than I thought!

Without further ado, here is my Patchwork Quilt poem, a nod to the Toledo Blade, the final Oulipost prompt, and a link to read my fellow Ouliposter’s Patchwork Quilt poems:

Fairy Godmothers Are Still Making Their Magic

People are getting excited about new things.

If us, spring 2014:

To express in words, to hold within.

Spring games draw crowds

out; same-sex sure strong – human hardcore –

beyond the bold haiku of the twerk.

“Give me everything you got.”

Come on casino, chime.

Something always needs attention on the farm.

I do.


Better sex, tell her never rest.

Fortunately, fairy godmothers are still making their magic tone,

to mate another year –

circus cynic’s competition, fire-eating crisis intervention.

Same-sex crisis over, same-sex save,


and a surprising season of fresh adoptions.

Celebrate good times, expect crowds, “group hug.”


A no na = doom: pi pun,

I wish for a better world, but I also did the meaningless arithmetic.

We need inspirational storytelling to reward character’s snooping.

Host and play the next volunteers.

Developed a little reputation?

Those are passions I’d like to take with me,

solutions to the straight unwise:

declining species, vanished.

A French exhibit flavored art grateful

at a ‘show cause’ hearing – a happy day.

That’s the future.

It makes it easier, especially when love is in the air

fostering a creative rehabilitation.

Everything and anything can grow here.

Sometimes you can taste something and

just fall in love.



All lines/words in this poem came from various authors listed elsewhere on my blog the Toledo Blade. April 1-29, 2014.

Oulipost prompt:

Patchwork Quilt

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

A link to my fellow Ouliposter’s poems from today:


See you soon….





Oulipost #29: Canada Dry

Wow, 29 poems down for April doing the Oulipost Project, 1 to go! Today was an interesting prompt as it was one that we were supposed to use no “formal” constraints, but make it look like there was.  So not having any rules but my own to follow, I set about just looking through The Blade for interesting phrases that I might use in composing a poem. They didn’t have to be any length or about anything in particular. Funny thing is, when I got on about the third article (of my eight used) I started to see a “theme” shining through that I hadn’t expected. Once that happened, I just kept going until I had a whole lot of lines to work with and I kept 25 of them (most in their original phrasing, only a couple that had partial use of an entire phrase). I started moving them around on the page (in my hardbound journal) until I “found” my poem. I’ve enjoyed composing quite a few other poems this month, but I have to say this one was a lot of fun. Maybe it was me being left to my own “devices” or maybe it was taking what I’d discovered about being playful with phrases and words this month and letting them make some cool leaps! Nevertheless, the phrases were taken from mostly articles about sports and food/recipes. Interesting the leaps the mind makes…or maybe it’s just mine! LOL! I hope you enjoy my Canada Dry poem! Following that are the sources used, the Oulipost prompt, and the link to see what some of my fellow Ouliposters did with their Canada Dry:

Shaken, then Stirred: A Jarred Version

We live in a natural garden, once a lake-bed,

everything and anything can grow here.

Always looking for the best –

it teaches growing skills.

We were aggressive, we were swinging.

Serve the largest pool of humanity possible –

maybe you wouldn’t wander too far

from the vanilla and the chocolate.

And, in this condition that’s about all

you’re going to get. It’s been a taffy pull,

always listening to gossip; a fourth sacrifice.

It’s been bait and catch, repeatedly. Still looking.


Still looking. Ideally, this is a two-person job.

The good fortune of wetting a line.

Focus. Don’t just drink tequila.

So, play mariachi music, and let’s talk.

After resting overnight, it was slightly tingly.

I want to experience more of that –

from Ann Arbor, I’d be staying in hotels

after late nights. Which is really what I want to do.

Sweetly vying; do it easily –

force me to go to extremes.

Spread some, continue rolling.

Sometimes you can taste something

and just fall in love.



Bilyeu, Mary. “Fiesta Time.” Toledo Blade 29 Apr. 2014. D1/6. Print.

—. “Keeping the FAQs.” Toledo Blade 29 Apr. 2014. D1. Print.

Burris, Keith C. “City’s urban gardening effort growing.” Toledo Blade 29 Apr. 2014. B1. Print.

Chavez, Jon. “Youth market may stay flat.” Toledo Blade 29 Apr. 2014. B6/7. Print.

Markey, Matt. “Fishing bounty in Ohio and Michigan a pretty easy sell.” Toledo Blade 29 Apr. 2014. C1/4. Print.

Messina, Ignazio. “State may help smooth trail.” Toledo Blade 29 Apr. 2014. B1/2. Print.

Odam, Matthew. “Master of Mexican cuisine Rick Bayless ‘always loved other cultures.'” Toledo Blade 29 Apr. 2014. D1/2. Print.

Wagner, John. “Ray still rolling.” Toledo Blade 29 Apr. 2014. C1/3. Print.


Oulipost prompt:

Canada Dry

The name of this procedure is taken from the soft drink marketed as “the champagne of ginger ales.” The drink may have bubbles, but it isn’t champagne. In the words of Paul Fournel, who coined the term, a Canada Dry text “has the taste and color of a restriction but does not follow a restriction.” (A musical example is Andrew Bird’s “Fake Palindromes.”)  Be creative, and write a poem sourced from your newspaper that sounds like it’s been Oulipo-ed, but hasn’t.

Link to fellow Ouliposter’s Canada Dry poems:


See you tomorrow!






Oulipost #28: Melting Snowball

Wow! Only two more days of Ouliposting after this. It’s sure going to feel weird not to be doing these everyday. However, anyone that knows me, knows I write everyday anyway, so that won’t change! I’m happy today’s prompt cooperated with me again, as it was one that I was able to come up with relatively fast. I needed one that fell into place pretty easily since I won’t be back at my computer until late tonight. I’ve not missed a day yet of posting on time, and getting this close to the end of the project I didn’t want to ruin my record! Today’s prompt is a Melting Snowball. Earlier in the month was a Snowball – where you start with one letter and add one until you don’t have any words that are any longer than the previous one to use. These words are, of course, sourced out of the local newspaper. It makes sense, then, that the Melting Snowball takes away one letter each time until left with only one. My article, from The Blade, jumped out at me this morning, and counting the words in my Virgo-ized organized way certainly helped. I found one that had two fourteen letter words, two thirteen, and then kept going. Once I had my list of available words, I started putting together what seemed to make an interesting poem. So, below you will find my Melting Snowball poem, the article I used, the Oulipost prompt, and a link to my fellow Ouliposter’s poems:

Potentially Saved Dogs
















Mester, Alexandra. “More food guarders killed than saved.” Toledo Blade 28 Apr. 2014. Web.

Oulipost prompt:

Melting Snowball

A text in which each word has one letter less than the preceding one, and the last word only one letter. From your newspaper, select a starting word, and then continue adding words of decreasing length from the same source article or passage. Challenge yourself further by only using words in order as you encounter them in the text.

Link to read other Ouliposter’s poems:


See you tomorrow!



Oulipost #27: Irrational Sonnet

I don’t know if it’s me, or if everyone is feeling this – but I don’t even know what day it is…I had to check. It’s Sunday! And, only three more days of Ouliposting…and as that comes to an end, so does school. The last week of classes is this week…with portfolios coming in next week. So no matter, how I cut it – my brain has been feeling pretty mushy the past few days. And, wouldn’t you know it – the prompt is the Irrational Sonnet. That only makes sense. 😉  For today’s poem, I was happy to find an article on migrating birds – as here in NW Ohio we’re coming upon The Biggest Week in American Birding in a few weeks as they cross Lake Erie into Canada just about 25 minutes east of my house. In addition, I took lines from six additional articles to come up with an Irrational Sonnet that I could live with…but alas it does not rhyme. The title of the poem is also a line I was going to use in the poem, but when I didn’t like it anywhere there – saw that it could work as the title. Following you will find my Irrational Sonnet, the sources used, the Oulipost prompt, and the link to my fellow Ouliposter’s poems from today:

The Kirtland Warbler is Quite Persnickety

Their identity isn’t tied to a neighborhood, color, ride or die attitude.

The live opportunity to view these neo-tropical migrating birds

after a long, hard winter: this is just what the doctor ordered.


It is still rare, but there is a chance you will see one.


It makes it easier, especially when love is in the air.

When the night air was hot, so were the streets –

clowns, music, thousands of birders converge on the region.

They won’t look at you, or they will look around a lot.


Don’t look for the revolving door to stop spinning anytime soon.


As American as apple pie, its needs almost led to its extinction,

stir crazy, dead at 20 because of a song –

these birds were pushed very close to the brink

there’s just no place for them to go, so they migrate

at night, increasing the risk of contact with whirring wind turbines.



Basting, Jeff & Matt Markey. “Kirtland’s Warbler makes a comeback.” Toledo Blade 27 Apr. 2014. Web.

Dungjen, Taylor. “Answers hard to find, but streets in Toledo quieter, violence falling.” Toledo Blade 27 Apr. 2014. Web.

Grand Forks Herald. “Little white lies, stretching the truth, has become a part of daily life, research shows.” Toledo Blade 27 Apr. 2014. Web.

Mullen, Roneisha. “Rating the ratings: Some parents say current systems aren’t reliable.” Toledo Blade 27 Apr. 2014. Web.

Patch, David. “Train congestion spurs headaches, safety concerns near N. Baltimore.” Toledo Blade 27 Apr. 2014. Web.

Thompson, Matt. “Downtown fun for season in Perrysburg starts Friday.” Toledo Blade 27 Apr. 2014. Web.

Wagner, John. “Tigers bullpen issues affecting Mud Hens.” Toledo Blade 27 Apr. 2014. Web.

Oulipost prompt:

Irrational Sonnet

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.

Fellow Ouliposters Poems:


See you tomorrow!

Oulipost #26: Beautiful Outlaw (Belle Absente)

Day 26 of Ouliposting finds this prompt: Beautiful Outlaw (Belle Absente) which means we were to find a name (or subject) in the newspaper and write a poem leaving out each letter of the name where it would fall in line (the entire prompt with explanation follows). Today there was an article in The Blade on John Oliver and The Daily Show. And within that article it contained the names of Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and David Letterman – all guys that I find quite humorous; however, I decided to use DAVID as my name to write to as he’s a native Hoosier, like me, and because he’s retiring from his show next year. Even though the poem is brief, and I know many of the Oulipo prompts don’t lend to “making sense” – I attempted to make something cohesive out of it and only used two articles. And, if every line was supposed to contain every letter of the alphabet except the ones in the chosen name – that didn’t happen. 🙂   Following is my poem for today, the sourced articles, the Oulipost prompt, and the link to other Beautiful Outlaw (Belle Absente) poems from my fellow Ouliposters:

Letterman Leaving Show to Colbert

With Colbert set to leave next year,

Oliver gone; Jon’s show retires more politic shtick,

its two most boisterous residents were missing.

That’s the future.

Late Show host Letterman leaves next year.



Bauber, David. “HBO’s John Oliver knows he owes debt to Jon Stewart.” Toledo Blade 26 Apr. 2014. Web.

Mester, Alexandra. “Toledo family reunited with dogs held 1 year in MI.” Toledo Blade 26 Apr. 2014. Web.

Oulipost prompt:

Beautiful Outlaw (Belle Absente)

The outlaw in question is the name of the person (or subject) to whom the poem is addressed. Each line of the poem includes all the letters of the alphabet except for the letter appearing in the dedicated name at the position corresponding to that of the line: when writing a poem to Eva, the first line will contain all letters except E, the second all letters except V, and the third all letters except A.

Choose someone mentioned in your newspaper to whom to address your poem. Compose a beautiful outlaw poem following the procedure outlined above and using words sourced from your newspaper text.

Link to other Ouliposter’s poems:


See you tomorrow!

Oulipost #25: Larding

Day 25 of Ouliposting finds us “Larding” or line stretching. What is that you ask? It’s taking two sentences from the local newspaper, and then “braiding” (Jody Rich) other sentences in between and adding more until you’ve got your poem. As always the actual prompt will explain what is needed. One of my first Oulipost poems this month included an article about the two dogs, Nala and Bugger, who have been sitting on death row for nearly a year, accused of killing two-show pigs after the dogs got loose from their yard. In today’s paper, there was good news! I’m happy to report that the two dogs have been released! So, obviously, I wanted to use that news as one of my source articles. I intertwined about 18 other lines from four additional articles, even if I only used a partial line from some of them. This one was fun to do once I chose my two initial lines and then went on a search for articles that might have some “conflict” or “energy” to help my “Larding” along. Below you will find my Larding poem, the sourced articles, the Oulipost prompt, and a link to my fellow Ouliposter’s poems:


It Was a Happy Day Yesterday

Nala and Bugger were deemed guilty

in July – but the original trials did not

involve satanic cults, an asylum


for the deranged, a degree away from

a hammy mad-scientist, relocating

to a crumbly country house


where supernatural evil follows-

It was there that two show-quality pigs

had been killed and a third injured.


Inspired by actual events,

the dogs had been on death row since

locked in and blasted with loud rock music.


No other living souls for miles around?

That’s progress for you –

be careful what you ask for.


Both dogs are revenge-minded

but their cattiness is put aside

in a trick box, lest both be ruined –


while their owners fought

to save them, paying homage

in style and theme to vintage


horror movies of the 1970s.

At a ‘show cause’ hearing

shocking revelations come to light.


Two dogs accused in death of pigs

are finally home, released to owners

who had not been allowed to visit them.


Original two lines:

Nala and Bugger were deemed guilty in July.   Two dogs are finally home.


Baird, Kirk. “”‘The Other Woman’ cheats on its feminist premise.” Toledo Blade 25 Apr. 2014. Web.

Dalton, Stephen. “‘Quiet Ones’ more creaky than creepy.” Toledo Blade 25 Apr. 2014. Web.

Messler, Alexandra. “Dogs accused in death of pigs released to owners.” Toledo Blade 25 Apr. 2014. Web.

Vallongo, Sally. “Toledo Opera gives ‘Faust’ hip update.” Toledo Blade 25 Apr. 2014. Web.

Wagner, John. “Polanco, Indy too much for Mud Hens.” Toledo Blade 25 Apr. 2014. Web.

Oulipost prompt:


Aka “line stretching.” From your newspaper text, pick two sentences. Add a new sentence between the first two; then two sentences in the new intervals that have become available; and continue to add sentences until the passage has attained the length desired. The supplementary sentences must either enrich the existing narrative or create a new narrative continuity.

Link to read other Ouliposter’s Larding poems:


See you tomorrow!





Oulipost #24: Homosyntaxism

Today’s 24th Oulipost prompt is a little tamer that it sounds. 😉  I’m posting early today as I don’t have as much time to spend on this one, and luckily the prompt cooperated. I had a couple of choices on how to use this prompt and I went with Option #1 (the prompt will follow below) where I chose from the Toledo Blade and then I could write as many homosyntaxisms as I could. I only wrote five and made them into one…sorta cohesive poem. If I had more time, I probably would have gone with Option # 2 and really piled it on myself. Nevertheless, below you will find my Homosyntaxism poem (my poem includes an article, noun, noun, verb, noun, adverb in each line – as that is what was in the original sentence), the original sentence and the source, other sources used, the Oulipost prompt, and the link to other Ouliposter’s poems from today:

Toledo Pitches Visits

The Mud Hens hammered pitcher out,

A Wednesday Tiger threw ball in,

The bullpen coach walked seven straight,

An immortal director loaded dancers passively,

A French exhibit flavored art grateful,

The world stars touch Toledo united.


Sentence sourced:

“The two dogs have understudies too.”

Sentence source:

Brickley, Sue. “4 legged actors will add to the fun at BGSU.” Toledo Blade 24 Apr. 2014. Web.


Baird, Kirk. “With Cirque du Soleil, Michael Jackson lives on.” Toledo Blade 24 Apr. 2014. Web.

Troy, Tom. “French Ambassador visits area, lauds exhibit at Toledo Museum.” Toledo Blade 24 Apr. 2014. Web.

Wagner, John. “Mud Hens pitcher a Ray of sunshine.” Toledo Blade 24 Apr. 2014. Web.


Oulipost prompt:


Homosyntaxism is a method of translation that preserves only the syntactic order of the original words. To give a rudimentary example, if N=noun, V=verb and A=adjective, the outline NVA could yield solutions such as “The day turned cold,” “Violets are blue,” “An Oulipian! Be wary!”)

Option 1: Choose a sentence from your newspaper source text and write as many homosyntaxisms as possible based on that same variation.

Option 2: Complete a homosyntaxism of an entire paragraph or article found in your text.

Link to other Ouliposter’s poems:


See you tomorrow!




Oulipost #23: Inventory

Today was my 23rd day of Ouliposting – only one week left! It will sure feel weird when this is over, as I’ve learned so much about my own writing, the local newspaper, and gained new poet friends and followers – all good things to do during National Poetry Month! Today’s prompt was to find an article and take an inventory of the nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, articles, and so on, and then write a poem from those words. I chose an article that had 127 nouns, 72 verbs, 39 adjectives, 27 prepositions, 17adverbs, 13 pronouns, 7 articles, and 5 conjunctions (there may have been at least 10 of each of the last, but some were the same over and over and my eyes were starting to glaze at “the’s” and “and’s.”  I had every intention of using some of all of those inventoried words; however, when I started pulling things together, I decided to go more creative and rogue – and I only used 25 nouns and 5 verbs to come up with a poem that contains 10 poems – 5 down and 5 across (I hope WordPress allows it to stay in the correct format!). Below you will find my Inventory poem, my sourced article, the Oulipost prompt, and the link to my fellow Ouliposter’s poems:

Terrified Bees Cross(words)

      V                     N1                     N2               N3               N4                 N5

Provide           Honeybees           Flowers         Host:          Native          Species

Declining        Bumblebees          plant             stress:         pests          population

Terrified             Bees                  hotels           hives:           drop            losses

Reducing:         supplies              instant         habitat:         piles             foraged

Vanished           food                  gardens         sumac         grains         wildflowers



Fosdick, Dean. “Bee-friendly garden can help struggling species.” Toledo Blade 23 Apr. 2014. Web.

Oulipost prompt:


Inventory is a method of analysis and classification that consists of isolating and listing the vocabulary of a pre-existing work according to parts of speech. Choose a newspaper article or passage from a newspaper article and “inventory” the nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, articles, etc. Bonus points for creative presentation of your final lists.

Link to other Ouliposter’s poems:


See you tomorrow!


Oulipost #22: Antonymy

Today’s 22nd Oulipost prompt is just what it sounds like – finding antonyms for words found in an article or passage from today’s local newspaper and replacing them with their opposites if there were any. I found several articles with passages that looked like they might be fun, but I decided to settle on one about Toledo’s neighbor to the north, Detroit, since I’ve written about that city’s plight before with some success. You can find that poem “The Art of Seeing Value,” here, and an article here about that same poem. Today, It was actually an editorial I ended up using, and I used Antonyms for the title of the article as the title for my poem. I used all of the antonyms that I could find and only left “What” and “Who” unchanged from the original. When there was a choice of several antonyms for one word, I used the one that I felt fit the “theme” of my poem best, or that sounded better next to other words in the same line. Following is my Antonymy poem, my sourced article, the original Oulipost prompt, and the link to view some fellow Ouliposter’s poems from this prompt. Enjoy!

Detroit is Dangerous Already

Here is less than drained praise

to not stay defunct behind Detroit’s

solutions to the straight unwise

from crooktakers who succeeded

to not go wrong under undelivered

expenditure-receiving defaults.

What unconcerns them is not busting

an explanation or weakening

a town’s or a non-territorial’s past.



Blade Staff. Editorial. “Detroit is not safe yet.” Toledo Blade 22 Apr. 2014. Web.

Oulipost prompt:


In Oulipian usage, antonymy means the replacement of a designated element by its opposite. Each word is replaced by its opposite, when one exists (black/white) or by an alternative suggesting antonymy (a/the, and/or, glass/wood).

Original: To be or not to be, that is the question.
Antonymy: To not be and to be: this was an answer.

Select a passage from your newspaper source text to complete this exercise.

Link to my fellow Ouliposter’s Antonymy poems:


See you tomorrow!


Oulipost #21: Confabulation

On the 21st day of Ouliposting we find ourselves doing the Confabulation. What’s that you ask? Well, it’s taking he said/she said quotes out of the local paper and then turning them into dialogue in a poem. I love dialogue and I love to write plays, and today’s poem was fun to write…once I found any quotes to include out of The Blade. One other prompt we had used quotes…yes, the Quote Centro…and I discovered then that there’s not as much quoting going on in the paper as I expected. Then on other days when I’m not looking for it, there’s tons of it. Go figure. Today was one of those days where I really had to search hard. I did find enough fodder in five articles to come up with something that I can live with. Everything, including the title, came from quotes, in some places I only used half of the quote, and in one line I used a combo of two quotes. Following is my Confabulation poem (and for whatever reason it wouldn’t stay in its original formatting here), the sourced articles, the Oulipost prompt, and the link this time for my fellow Ouliposter’s poems (I forgot to add it yesterday after I said I would!). You can always look at my twitter feed for some of theirs that I retweet.

We Heard an Unusual Play



a little reputation?


                                    All over the

                                   city of Toledo.


Give something



                                  That’s difficult.

I’d rather err

on the side of

being aggressive.


                                    On one side or

                                    the other I’ve been

                                    doing this 42 years.

I’ve never seen

it before…


                                      But it worked

                                      out for us



We weren’t able to

negotiate the right



                                     It’s a big year!


It goes really



                                  Most exciting part

                                  is to see it shoot off.


Those are passions

I would like to take

with me.


                                 Anything we could

                                 find that we

                                 really liked…


It’s all rocket




After that

things didn”t

go well?


                                    I’m not sure I would

                                     have wanted him to

                                    go home.


You know what

the call should be?


                                   No, I’m a student

                                    of sloppy angels.



AP. “Tigers edge sloppy Angels.” Toledo Blade 21 Apr. 2014. Web.

Blade Staff. “Bedford Branch library marks local, Monroe county anniversaries.” Toledo Blade 21 Apr. 2014. Web.

Mester, Alexandria. “Pit Bull rescue finds home for itself.” Toledo Blade 21 Apr. 2014. Web.

Troy, Tom. “3 Democrats vie for judgeship.” Toledo Blade 21 Apr. 2014. Web.

Trusso, Natalie. “2 Northview teams selected for finals of rocketing competition in Washington.” Toledo Blade 21 Apr. 2014. Web.

Oulipost prompt:


Craft a conversation poem using “he said/she said” quotes that you find in newspaper articles.

Link to Ouliposters Confabulation Poems:


See you tomorrow!