Oulipost #15: Prisoner’s Constraint

We’re halfway through April – National Poetry Month, and that means I’m halfway through the Oulipost project! I knew it would take even more time out of my busy schedule, but I didn’t know how much I would enjoy this challenge and all the constraints used in my poetry. I’m definitely a found poetry convert…. So, today is day 15 and we were faced with the Prisoner’s Constraint. What that means is that I could not use any letters that extend above or below the line (b d f g h j k l p q t y), so that left me with a c e m n o r s u v w x z, and the small i. Some days I use the online version of the Toledo Blade, but on occasion I pick up a hard copy so that I can peruse if for my words. In between classes today, I sat and underlined all words that stayed within the “lines “that I could find in nine articles.  I lucked out again, as the main story was on gay marriage – and with that I gave myself permission to use “same-sex” at least as often as it appeared in the article. Here is my poem for today, my sources used, the original Oulipost prompt, and also a link where you can find other Ouliposters’ fine poems from this project:

same-sex invasions

One man, one woman

no more reason

we issue excuse crews.


now we see


same-sex newcomers

mix awareness

more reason.


no more cases ever


nervous, mean ones cream

access aware news

same-sex scene.


revisions occur


same-sex races resume

new season

warm version.


move over macaroni


same-sex crisis over

numerous rumors

are in recession.


same-sex save.



Bilyeu, Mary. “Coney Island hot dog has serious staying power.” Toledo Blade 15 Apr. 2014. D1. Print.

—. “Easter resolutions.” Toledo Blade 15 Apr. 2014. D1/D6. Print.

Blade Staff. “Howard is 5th pick in draft.” Toledo Blade 15 Apr. 2014. C1/C2. Print.

Burris, Keith C. “An economist tells it like it is.” Toledo Blade 15 Apr. 2014. B1. Print.

Feehan, Jennifer. “Teen: No one asked for ID in liquor store.” Toledo Blade 15 Apr. 2014. B1/B3. Print.

Mester, Alexandria. “Owner of puppy sought, is facing cruelty charge.” Toledo Blade 15 Apr. 2014. B2. Print.

Provance, Jim. “Ohio ordered to recognize gay marriages.” Toledo Blade 15 Apr. 2014. A1/A3. Print.

Rosenkrans, Nolan. “UT Trustees vote to ban tobacco use.” Toledo Blade 15 Apr. 2014. A1/A3. Print.

Sigou, Mike. “Weather shift has Toledo area seeing white.” Toledo Blade 15 Apr. 2014. B1/B2. Print.


Oulipost prompt:

Prisoner’s Constraint

Imagine a prisoner whose supply of paper is restricted. To put it to fullest use, he will maximize his space by avoiding any letter extending above or below the line (b, d,f,g,h,j,k,l,p,q,t and y) and use only a,c,e,m,n,o,r,s,u,v,w,x and z. Compose a poem using only words that can be made from these letters AND which you source from your newspaper text.

The link to find other Ouliposters’ poems:


See you tomorrow!


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