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 #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 #16: Chimera

Today’s 16th Oulipost prompt found me scouring the hard copy of The Blade for articles to replace nouns, verbs, and adjectives in a primary article. It took a lot more time than I expected, as I ended up changing the article I intended to use for verbs as the actual article I used for the primary article. Confused? It sure kept me on my toes. As I was replacing nouns, verbs, and adjectives in my poem – I tried to keep the same nouns consistent throughout the piece…which also got harder as I went along. I would have to go back and count where I was in my “new” version to catch what noun I used several lines before…. Nevertheless, as tedious as this one was just finding the words, I did have fun once I started replacing everything with the “new” word choices. Even my title sticks with my new words from the article! The only major changes I made was to change a few of the verb tenses so they fit a bit better…otherwise, I tried to keep as true to the article and the order of the words found as I could. So, below you will find my Chimera poem, the sources used, and the Oulipost prompt:

Toledo Animals Held Surprised Morning Investigators

The Toledo Area Humane Society and few of its good cats

propelled wins for nearly three neighbors on Friday

by a Toledo-better “organization complaint” on its

obvious birth, dogs, and long-term records of litters.

The week-Labrador, shelter-dog-wife organization

complaint, which hits at the morning investigator’s

comment for the fifth female at the Animals of Society

of the Toledo Mother Cat, pitched the society’s

humane Labradors, case kittens, and city case puppies

on conditions of food piles not prepared injuries before

last food walked July 1; dominance of space kennels;

offspring skirmishes among Society Labradors and

The Blade; floor avenues; snapped numbers,

and a surprising season of fresh adoptions.



Primary Article:

Messina, Ignazio. “State Group Chastises Local Elections Board.” Toledo Blade 16 Apr. 2014. B1/B2. Print.


Mester, Alexandria. “25 Rescued Animals Strain Shelter.” Toledo Blade 16 Apr. 2014. B1/B2. Print.


Blade Staff. “Toledo Gets Hits, Not Victory.” Toledo Blade 16 Apr. 2014. C4. Print.


Chavez, Jon. “Focaccia’s Market Gets ‘Great Response.'” Toledo Blade 16 Apr. 2014. B6/B7. Print.

Oulipost Prompt:


The chimera of Homeric legend – lion’s head, goat’s body, treacherous serpent’s tail – has a less forbidding Oulipian counterpart. It is engendered as follows. Having chosen a newspaper article or other text for treatment, remove its nouns, verbs and adjectives. Replace the nouns with those taken in order from a different work, the verbs with those from a second work, the adjectives with those from a third.

Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! We’re two weeks into November, and this is our second week of writing about something that we can be thankful for since it is the season! Last week’s prompt asked you to think about your friends and how thankful you are for them, whether they are old friends, new friends, close friends, lost friends, etc. Last week’s prompt didn’t include one group of friends that I’m certainly thankful for: the four-legged friends. In my case it’s cats, but I’ve had dogs in the past and am certainly a fan of giving pets a good home.

I’ve always been cat crazy, even as a child – yet, I wasn’t allowed to have a cat (or any pet for that matter) until I was nearly ten years old. So, it was a dream come true to have a cat of my own, and my first one was named, Kitti Tom. As an adult, I didn’t own a cat for many years (exes that hated cats…and they’re long gone…the exes that is!), then the first one, Scribbles, came to me when I was thirty-one. Scribbles was with me for eighteen years, and she had many other cat siblings along the way. I’ve not been without a cat since, and never will. My cats (right now I have Graham, Tink, and Fiyero) give unconditional love, and are a great comfort to come home to after a long day at school.  I’ve written about various cats in my life, but “Unexpected Visitor” was published in the book that I co-authored with Jayne Marek and Mary Sexson: Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013), and was about one of my favorite cats of all time, Jonathon. He was another that lived to be eighteen years old! Here is that poem:

Unexpected Visitor

Lovers came and went,

but for eighteen years you graced my lap,

you slept next to me, and followed me

around the house. You didn’t care

if the dishes were done, or if

I gained a few pounds, or shed a few tears.

You were there, a purring anchor –

even as your spirit was leaving me.


Jonathon, you came to me

in a dream last night, strong,

healthy and handsome. You

ascended the wooden stairs

coming up out of the basement,

ran into my open arms.

You reveled in my touch,

I cried your name –

my one constant. (47)

My pastel portrait of Jonathon:


With your four-legged friend in mind, whether it be cat, dog, ferret, horse, rat, etc, here is your twentieth prompt:

“Fur-ever Friends”

1) In your daybook write down a list of every pet you can remember from your childhood until the present day. After you have your list, some will have pages, others will just have a few, write down the descriptions and some memories of each one. This will give you tons of writing to work with. You will also see that as you start working with your memories of your pets, other memories of that time period will come rushing back as well – write it all down. Then the next time you think you have a “writer’s block” (of which I don’t believe in as long as you write SOMETHING every day) then you’ll have a list of memories and subject matter to use anytime.

2) You should have a list of pets…even if it’s two or three, that’s enough. Now take that list and concentrate on writing about your favorite pet, the funniest pet, the pet with the best personality…or the worst, and as you write down certain traits other ideas about your four-legged friends will come to you, and jot those down as well. One of the hardest things to write about, yet is very rewarding, is writing about a beloved pet that has crossed over (like Jonathon). You will find a lot of tears while writing, but it’s nice to have a tangible memory of your pet when you’re finished.

3) Find photos of your pets, write to those photos. Who is in the photo with the pet? Where was the picture taken? What year? How old were you? Your pet(s)?

4) With your favorite genre in mind, take any of these prompts and write as much as you can for as long as the material is coming. When done, take your work and revise it – cut out unneeded words or memories that don’t fit in this particular piece (but make sure to save those memories somewhere as they might fit in some other future piece!) By the same token, add material/images, if needed. And just revise, revise, revise!

As with all writing, this “Fur-ever Friends” writing should be fun! And I remind you that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.

Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!