Oulipost #24: Homosyntaxism

Today’s 24th Oulipost prompt is a little tamer that it sounds. 😉  I’m posting early today as I don’t have as much time to spend on this one, and luckily the prompt cooperated. I had a couple of choices on how to use this prompt and I went with Option #1 (the prompt will follow below) where I chose from the Toledo Blade and then I could write as many homosyntaxisms as I could. I only wrote five and made them into one…sorta cohesive poem. If I had more time, I probably would have gone with Option # 2 and really piled it on myself. Nevertheless, below you will find my Homosyntaxism poem (my poem includes an article, noun, noun, verb, noun, adverb in each line – as that is what was in the original sentence), the original sentence and the source, other sources used, the Oulipost prompt, and the link to other Ouliposter’s poems from today:

Toledo Pitches Visits

The Mud Hens hammered pitcher out,

A Wednesday Tiger threw ball in,

The bullpen coach walked seven straight,

An immortal director loaded dancers passively,

A French exhibit flavored art grateful,

The world stars touch Toledo united.


Sentence sourced:

“The two dogs have understudies too.”

Sentence source:

Brickley, Sue. “4 legged actors will add to the fun at BGSU.” Toledo Blade 24 Apr. 2014. Web.


Baird, Kirk. “With Cirque du Soleil, Michael Jackson lives on.” Toledo Blade 24 Apr. 2014. Web.

Troy, Tom. “French Ambassador visits area, lauds exhibit at Toledo Museum.” Toledo Blade 24 Apr. 2014. Web.

Wagner, John. “Mud Hens pitcher a Ray of sunshine.” Toledo Blade 24 Apr. 2014. Web.


Oulipost prompt:


Homosyntaxism is a method of translation that preserves only the syntactic order of the original words. To give a rudimentary example, if N=noun, V=verb and A=adjective, the outline NVA could yield solutions such as “The day turned cold,” “Violets are blue,” “An Oulipian! Be wary!”)

Option 1: Choose a sentence from your newspaper source text and write as many homosyntaxisms as possible based on that same variation.

Option 2: Complete a homosyntaxism of an entire paragraph or article found in your text.

Link to other Ouliposter’s poems:


See you tomorrow!




Oulipost #20: Lescurean Permutation (Roussellian)

Today is my twentieth day of Ouliposting and I’m so happy to be keeping up and getting my poems done every day. Before I started, I worried about that with all of my grading and other time commitments. Nevertheless, I generally write everyday anyway, just not with all of the constraints put upon myself…and in a way that has been refreshing to get some new writing done. Today’s prompt was the Lescurean Permutation (Plain), but after writing mine that way it didn’t have the umph that I wanted. I had selected a business article out of The Blade, and I chose four paragraphs to work with out of that article. It almost seemed to fit too well with just a few minor interesting lines/word pairings. So, I looked at some of my fellow Ouliposter’s works and some of them were using a variation of the prompt called Lescurean Permutation (Roussellian) and I tried that with what I had (since I’d numbered all of my nouns in my journal) and I liked it so much better. In addition, I wrote mine in couplets instead of stanzas. I kept the noun order close to perfect 😉 and I took a few creative liberties with tenses. I am posting my poem, my sourced article, and then both Oulipost prompts: L.P. (Plain) and L.P. (Roussellian), in case you want to try them both to see which one you like better. I will also include the link to my fellow Ouliposter’s poems too:

The Future of the City


Chrysler, known for Fiat manufacturing and Fiat Italy

may be here in its earning a station as a clout lot.


The next ways volunteers will community Toledo to a

Italian-American event gathering of beverage sectors


and officials from food seeking energy and city Jeep

examples in Fortune 500 there. List companies?


Because it’s considered the U.S.A. of the centers,

and production is future of the city, and Toledo –


some of the biggest there is [why in the present

Ohio?] located northwest, for opportunities investment.


It’s a very important Italy for biomedical, renewable

business, automotive two-day, host and play, and many


others too. The city has rallied many months. International

in glass to either Toledo or contribute in various autos.



Chavez, Jon. “Local business community to host Italian firms.” Toledo Blade 20 Apr. 2014. G1/G2. Print.

Oulipost prompts:

Lescurean Permutation (Roussellian):

Select a newspaper article or passage from a newspaper article as your source text. The first noun changes place with the last, the second with the next to last, and so forth until you reach the end of your text.

Lescurean Permutation (Plain):

Select a newspaper article or passage from a newspaper article as your source text. Switch the first noun with the second noun, the third noun with the fourth noun, and so on until you’ve reached the end of your text.

See you tomorrow!

Oulipost #8: Beautiful Inlaw (Beau Present)

Day 8 brings an interesting prompt: Beautiful Inlaw (Beau Present) for the Ouliposters. With this one we needed to choose a name from the newspaper and then write a poem that includes letters from that specific name only (it could be a celebrity if we wanted), sort of like an anagram, but not exactly. We could use the Scrabble-word generator, which is a cool tool – however, even though I wished we didn’t have to – we had to stick with words that were in today’s newspaper…and I did, reluctantly follow that rule (but will try one later with the cool words generated that I didn’t get to use!). Since I’m trying to keep with a “Toledo” theme in my poems – I chose the new mayor’s name: D. Michael Collins. His name generated 1484 words; however, you’ll see that I was limited in what I could use…even by using eight sources out of The Blade. The letters that I was limited to using: D M I C H A E L O N S. So, today’s effortI can live with it. Here’s my poem, the sources, and the Oulipost prompt:

Casino Chimes




Oh, casino

old OH-io home:



Come all, casino



Casino’s nachos

do dish: small

limes, casein,

manioc. Man,

no niche!


Once casinos

iced salmon,

sea cod, sliced ham;

dishes made

in line.


Medical mash,

man-made in

can mines –

casino home.


Hens said:

Nod me in,


as a lead

laid in mind –

come on,





Bilyeu, Mary. “A Tall Task.” Toledo Blade 8 Apr. 2014: D1. Print.

—. ” “Something to Chew On.” Toledo Blade 8 Apr. 2014: D1. Print.

Blade Staff.”Hens to play doubleheader.” Toledo Blade 8 Apr. 2014: C4. Print.

—. “Ice Jams on Great Lakes Slow Down Shipping.” Toledo Blade 8 Apr. 2014: B6. Print.

—. “Squeezed by Prices Airlines Dumping Limes.” Toledo Blade 8 Apr. 2014: B6. Print.

Churchill’s Market, Walt. Advertisement. Toledo Blade 8 Apr. 2014: D6. Print.

McCray, Vanessa. “Hollywood Casino grabs $17.4M revenue in March.” Toledo Blade 8 Apr. 2014: A1. Print.

“Off to a Smooth Start.” Toledo Blade 8 Apr. 2014: C4. Print.


Oulipost prompt:

Beautiful Inlaw (Beau Present)

Select a name from one of your newspaper articles, famous or not. Compose a poem using only words that can be made from the letters in that person’s name. For example, if you selected “John Travolta,” you may only use words that can be made from the letters A, J, H, L, N, O, R, T and V.

The use of web-based tools is highly encouraged to help uncover different words that can be made from your letters of choice. One tool you might consider is the Scrabble Word Finder.

See you tomorrow!

Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Boy, 2014 sure has made itself known hasn’t it? No matter where you are in the U.S. you’ve been affected by the Polar Vortex, or at least you’ve heard about it on the national news or weather reports. Here in Toledo, OH, we ended up with another 10-13″ of snow (depending on where in Toledo you live), and had wind chills reach 45 below zero – pretty brutal for not even being a week into January before this stuff started, and that snow count isn’t including the 11.3″ we accumulated on New Year’s Day.


Snow as of January 6, 2014

I do have to say that as bad as this winter storm was it was nothing compared to the Blizzard of 1978. I was living in Indiana, a young mom (21) with a nine month old baby, and my then husband, Bill, who owned a 1969 Corvette that he adored. I have plenty of memories of that blizzard, but one that always sticks out in my mind is that the drifts were up and over the Corvette in the drive and the coveted car wasn’t visible. Some neighbor kids, about a week after the snowstorm, were out walking through the snow looking for places to shovel…and I had to yell at them – as they were walking on top of the prized Corvette…something they weren’t aware of. Needless to say, there was a lot of snow and a lot of drifts.

I also remember some super cold winters, with a lot of snow; actually, the year before the blizzard in 1977, there were some constant snows and a string of sub-zero temperatures…and that was not including wind chill factors! I especially remember getting stuck in a snow drift in our 4-wheel drive on a country road while going home from my mom and dad’s house after Sunday dinner. I was eight months pregnant and couldn’t get my coat zipped around my stomach. We had our dog, Smoky, with us and Bill had to walk about a mile down the road to a farm house to call his dad and brothers to come pull us out. While he was gone, the winds were howling, the windshield started forming ice, and all I could think of was the recent murders that had taken place in Hollandsburg. When Bill finally made it back to our vehicle we had to walk back to that farm house to wait for help to arrive, carrying Smoky, and no way for me to really bundle up. It’s a wonder all three of us didn’t end up with frostbite.

As I retell these memories I realize my need to write about them in more detail – the sights, the sounds, the feelings, and I bet as you read about this period of time (and if you’re of a certain age), you will have relatable tales. If you’re a lot younger, perhaps this latest cold snap will give you stories to tell or poems to write too. So for your twenty-eighth prompt:

“A Blizzard of Memories”

1) In your daybook write down some of your memories of a major snow storm, frigid cold, ice storms, wind chills, power outages, or anything associated with winter weather. It could be the Blizzard of ’78, getting stuck in a snow drift, being without power for days, something from this recent “Polar Vortex” outbreak, or not being able to get home from work…your memories may generate more ideas. Just as I’m writing this, I’m remembering other winter weather “incidents” from my life.

2) Take one of your memories and really hone in on it – like I said, get your senses involved. What did you see, feel, hear, smell, and/or even taste during that time? Write about that for at least 10 minutes or until you exhaust the memory.

3) Now take your writing and decide if it fits best into a poem, a memoir/essay, or would it lend itself to an interesting piece of fiction or a play based on your real-life events? Once you decide that aspect, take your time and get that story, poem, memoir, or play written!

4) As always, once you have “finished” your writing, remember to revise, revise, and then revise again…that’s the real craft of writing! It’s your talent and your tenacity that makes the writing yours, so make sure you have your best word choices and have every detail included so your audience connects with your piece of writing.

As with all writing, this A Blizzard of Memorieswriting 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!



Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that 2014 is here…which is a milestone for me…as a high school graduate in 1974! Time sure does fly, and I’m sure I’ll write more about this later in the year as that “anniversary” creeps closer in May. Right now, I’m ready to plunge into the prompts (er, challenge!) at hand…and, no, they’re not going to have anything to do with making those resolutions we all do, or at least think about, as each new year begins. It’d be too easy to write about what those resolutions are…and how many we’ve broken over the years, right? But, that is an idea to write about if you find that intriguing.

Are you ready to take me up on a “mapping out a plan” challenge?

Instead of thinking of those resolutions that we all usually break within a day, a week, or a month into the new year, why not sit down and map out a plan for your writing, or other project, that you really want to do this year. Instead of saying “I’m going to write every day in 2014,” and then when you miss a day and beat yourself up and give up…why not say, “I’m going to plan on writing as much as I can each month, and by March I’ll have X amount of that novel written, or X amount of poems for a manuscript, or have X amount of that full-length play written….” Then if you make that happen, pat yourself on the back and say “Now by June I’ll have X amount more of that novel written, or X amount more poems for a manuscript, or have several 10 minute plays written.” If you don’t make it to your goal for March, simply map out something that you know you are likely to attain!

If you make June’s deadline, then shoot for X more amount of writing in September in whatever genre that you’re working in.

Then for the major mapping planDecember is the month that you will want to have whatever it is that you’ve been working on all year…completed. It’s then that you can submit your work somewhere, or maybe you’ll finish that novel, poetry manuscript, or play by September. What if that happens and you’re done in September? Well, then you can start on another project…maybe one that will only take three months. Or maybe you can plan to participate in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. Or maybe you can challenge yourself to another writing genre that you haven’t tried, or another creative outlet…maybe take that drawing class you’ve been thinking about, those piano lessons that you started as a kid and never finished, or an acting class….  No matter what you do, as long as you make room in 2014 to create and reach, or come closer to, your creative goals – then 2014 will be a successful year for you! I plan to take my own advice and map out some projects, and maybe take a workshop or class doing something that I’ve never tried before.

In addition, I’m going to do something a little different this time (and I’ll do this again on occasion), and post a couple of my own photographs for you to use as a prompt. Perhaps they will inspire you to write a poem, or create a short story, etc….the possibilities are endless. Remember, good writing starts with an image…! Here’s your twenty-seventh prompt:

“Images: Move Your Imagination!”


Northern Cardinal in Toledo’s Wildwood Metropark


Full moon over Montreal, from my trip there in August 2011.

Enjoy experimenting with these images and mapping out your creative plans for 2014!

I will be back next Wednesday with even more writing prompts for you.

I hope that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, that you will let me know. You can contact me here.

Keep writing!


Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Christmas and New Year’s actually fell on a Wednesday this year, so the prompts this week, and next, will come on Thursday until we get back into our “normal” routines. Since it’s the end of another year it is a good time to reflect on what’s past, whether we like to or not…nevertheless, there’s still five more days in 2013 and we can’t count out that a lot of things can happen before 2014 comes knocking on our door.

With that said, 2013 has been an interesting year, and in many ways a hard one – not only for me but for a lot of others as well. It’s not been as catastrophic as some years can be…with the death of a loved one (or two), or a major crisis…like a divorce, or a job loss; although, a few of my friends have suffered these hardships and my heart goes out to all of them, as I know they’ve struggled and some are struggling still.

For myself, it’s been a year where I’ve struggled with money – a lot. It started out with having my gallbladder removed on the 3rd of January – and with no health insurance. Which means that I’m still paying, and will be paying, for some time to come. Also, adjunct hours got reduced and even though I was blessed with enough classes to keep the money coming in – it’s not enough to ever get ahead. And for whatever reason, one of my schools “overpaid” me during one pay period and then had to take it back over four more this Fall…so it’s an ongoing cycle of being in the working poor and that is a real hard thing to accept. I love teaching, and plan to continue, but it sure would be nice if teachers got paid better – and got more respect from the general public.

And, if it’s not money…it’s love. Another of life’s pleasures that I’m not always on the “lucky” side of. Let’s just say in 2013, I put myself back out there, and I’m not giving up…. 🙂

On the positive side of things, I’ve had a few poems published that I’m really proud of – especially “The Art of Seeing Value” that appeared in New Verse News in June and then again in Great Writers Steal. In March, Company of Women: New and Selected Poems, that I co-authored with Jayne Marek and Mary Sexson was published by Chatter House Press. We had a great book launch in Indianapolis, and had some wonderful readings in Chicago, Toledo, Three Oaks, MI. We also had a book signing at Indy Authors Fair in October, as well as a reading at Big Hat Books in Indy the night before. If that weren’t enough – all three of us were nominated twice for Pushcarts from Chatter House Press and from Cincinnati Writer’s Project.

I’ve had a couple of one-person art shows – one at Starbucks in Perrysburg, OH, in February and one at Downtown Latte in Toledo, in October – and from that show I got to be the featured artist of the month for Where’s the Cat.


I got nominated for a Circle of Excellence teaching award at Terra, and have enjoyed a year full of friends, old and new, and of good times with my family – like going to see New Kids on the Block with my daughters and granddaughter and then really liking the concert too.

And, oh yeah, my gallbladder surgery was successful and I’ve felt great afterwards. I’ve had good health, my cats, family, and friends have been well this year – so when all is said and done, 2013 hasn’t been all bad at all…

So what does my ups and downs, wins and losses, happy times and sad times mean for your writing prompts? Well, I’m glad you asked – because just as I did you need to take some time and reflect on 2013. Here’s your twenty-sixth prompt:

“Oh, What a Year it’s Been!”

1) In your daybook write a list of all the highlights of 2013, then make a list of all the low points of the year. If you make these lists into columns you can also get a “feel” of whether 2013 fits into a great year, or one of those years you’d rather forget. We’ve all had a few of those, and thankfully the latter happens a lot less than the former…at least I hope it does for you too.

2) Once you have your lists, pick something and expand on it. Write for ten minutes or until you can’t think of anything more to write about that topic. If you have some time, pick one from the opposite column and do the same.

3) I mentioned having a year that you’d rather forget. I’ve got a few that stick out in my mind for various reasons: 1983, 1998, and 2010. I’m hoping I don’t see anything like any of those again. If you’ve had one of those years where everything goes wrong: a bad break-up, your car gets totaled, your grandmother dies, various other relatives die…you get the picture, take that year and give it the once over. It’s not always easy, but sometimes you need to write about it just to get past it.

4) By the same token, you may have a year that stands out like no other – one where you got married, a birth of a child, a new job, a major award, you fell in love, you went on a trip of a lifetime, by all means write about that year and hope that you have more just like it!

5) Any of these prompts will lend themselves nicely to any of the genres of writing: poems, fiction, memoir, plays. So, choose your favorite and tailor your stories from the prompts into any form that you feel fits. Once you choose, write to that genre – and then always revise until you are happy with your work. If you’ve never sent anything out to try to get published – maybe do that before the end of 2013 – or make it a goal for 2014.

As with all writing, this Oh, What a Year it’s Been!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!



Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to another Writing Prompt Pit Stop! This week’s writing prompt asks “What is Your Nature?” Some people walk through life never noticing the pleasures that nature has to offer. I was one of those people for a long while; always too busy with life to stop and smell the proverbial roses.

The funny thing is as I’ve gotten older, life hasn’t become any less busy – in fact, in today’s world it’s actually busier with the added distractions of non-stop emails, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets and re-tweets, and catching up on the latest blogs on top of everything else. Nevertheless, I’ve found that I take solace in nature. One of my favorite things to do (now that I make sure I make time to do it) is go to the Metropark, the river, or the lake, and take pictures of various birds.



Inevitably, these feathered friends have found homes in my poems in the last few years. In fact, my most recent chapbook, Winged Graffiti (Finishing Line Press, 2011), is filled with flights of fancy – both literally and metaphorically. I have several bird-related poems in my new book (co-authored with Jayne Marek and Mary Sexson): Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013). In addition, I just recently received word that my poems, “Bossy Blues,” and “Turkey Vultures of Thorntown,” will be included in the August bird-themed issue of Cyclamens and Swords. So, it may not come as a big surprise that I’m now working on a full-length manuscript that includes a lot of wings and beaks.

As might be expected then, this week’s prompt is encouraging you to explore your own attraction(s) in nature. You might be attracted to birds, as I am, or maybe you prefer flowers or trees. You may be attracted to mountains, lakes, oceans, or maybe it’s a summer thunderstorm, or a fresh snow in winter. With that idea in mind, here’s your fourth prompt:

“What is Your Nature?”

1) Think about your favorite attraction, and then write in detail everything you can about it – maybe a specific bird or flower – for 10 minutes or until you exhaust your subject.

You may end up with one page or more of information.

2) Mine your work for good imagery or an interesting turn of words or a phrase. Sometimes when we write fast (almost in auto-pilot) we unintentionally come up with some gems. That’s the fun of writing isn’t it!

3) Pull those images, words, and phrases out. Now shape them into your poem or essay. You also might be able to give your love in nature a place in a piece of flash fiction.

4) If you have a hard time narrowing your favorites in nature down to just one attraction, by all means write on each of them, but do so separately first so that you can pay attention to those important details.

Obviously the more you write about nature – the longer your poems or essays may be, and the more likely you will be able to see a series develop! Who doesn’t love that?

As with all writing, it should be fun! 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!