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!


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