Oulipost #6: Blank Verse Amidst the Prose

Day six of Ouliposting finds us Ouliposters counting once more…today we’re back at using iambic pentameter…and, yes, being a poet, I know what it is and, yes, as a poet, I know it when I hear it…but…I have to admit I don’t sit down and count out the “daDUMS” in a line when I write (My students should ignore this remark…!). I guess the lines might be more musical, but so far…I’ve done okay without doing it. I will admit I do like to count out syllables in haiku and senryu…but somehow that seems different and less, well, mathematical! As I said, I’m trying to make peace with math…but it’s not without my cringing and sweating at the thought. One of my fellow Ouliposters even posted her poem for today and actually “showed her work!” To me that took me back to fourth grade and having to get up in front of the class at the chalkboard and show my math work…who knew this Oulipost project might send me to therapy! 😉   Anyway, here is what I came up with today, as always using the Toledo Blade, following as close as I could to the iambic pentameter; after my poem are the articles I used as sources, and today’s Oulipost prompt.

The Toledo Tango

When it comes to buying a home

a million bucks goes further in Toledo

than many other places in the U.S.

We have the invoice but no flash –

“You will do better in Toledo,”

it was like plastic on steroids,

so that is legitimate, when he

sends flowers he pays himself.


There’s a lot of teamwork going on

beyond the bold haiku of the twerk,

change doesn’t have to be scary.

Dancing with style is an acquired trait,

forget frenetic new age or techno beats,

this afternoon is strictly ballroom,

between the twirls and lunges

a pair of partners might cover an acre.


No tablets, no cell phones, no iPods,

and they smile. A lot. I have not

asked for any gasoline, any meals.

The tango entails a firm embrace,

something that combined rhythm and grace,

far from suffering at the vintage steps –

this University of Toledo dance.



Jex, Kathy. “You will do better in Toledo.” Letter to the editor. Toledo Blade 6 Apr. 2014. Web.

Messina, Ignazio. “Citing spending during Bell’s term, Collins says ‘no more credit cards’ for Toledo staffers.” Toledo Blade 6 Apr. 2014. Web.

Pearson, Mike. “Woodward High School students learn ballroom dancing.” Toledo Blade 6 Apr. 2014. Web.


Oulipost Prompt:

Blank Verse Amidst the Prose

Compose a poem using unintentional lines of iambic pentameter found in your newspaper.


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