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!

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