I'm back in the Impromptu prompt saddle over at Found Poetry Review after reentry into the Land of the North yesterday. I didn't do the last two FPR prompts as they promised to be time-consuming and when one is packing up after three and a half months away one lacks time. Yesterday we flew from Manzanillo to Calgary to Vancouver, where I'm happily holed up at my best old friend since the sixtie's place. I am reminded that travel is exhausting even as it's exhilarating.
The poem I've come up with (thanks to landing on wiki articles that ranged from someone who had something to do with car racing to pro-life priests) made little sense to me at first. But at the same time, I could literally feel my brain attempting to sort out the leaps from article to article, line to line. The hardest part was figuring out who the poem was for (part of the prompt requirements). Which teacher was the narrator having a conversation with? I finally decided it's for George Bowering, the first person to tell me about Oulipo in a week-long class I took with him at the Victoria School of Writing back in 2005.
|Victoria School of Writing, 2005|
A year ago George had a cardiac arrest outside the library (you couldn't make this up!) near where he lives in Vancouver. He was in a coma for two weeks. I visited him in the hospital when I was coming back from Mexico. He's kind like the Energizer Bunny in that he keeps on ticking. He's still publishing books, writes every day, and he loves to beat my husband at crib.
Today's most interesting prompt, from Daniel Levin Becker, is called a Petit Récapitul Portatif and goes like this:
The récapitul is a fixed poetic form created by Jacques Jouet in 2010. Its fully fledged form is a little long for our purposes,* so we’ll use its truncated version, the petit récapitul portatif:
1. The poem consists of 10 lines total, in a 3-3-3-1 stanza distribution.
2. Each line is 9 syllables long. No meter is required.
3. The lines do not rhyme.
4. After each three-line stanza comes a list, in parentheses, of three words taken from one of each of the lines in the preceding stanza.
5. The poem is dated and addressed to a specific person (someone you know or someone you don’t).
Here’s how we’ll use it:
6. This link will direct you to a Wikipedia article in English, chosen at random. (You can also click on the fifth link down on the lefthand toolbar of any article.)
7. The first line in your poem will correspond to the first random article you see, the second to the second, and so on for all ten lines.
7a. You may replace up to two of your random articles with either a new random article or an article one click away from the original.
8. You may interpret “correspond to” however you choose. You can quote the article, paraphrase it, comment on it, take impressionistic inspiration from it, or what have you.
9. You may open ten random articles at once and plan out the content of your PRP, though still observing the order in which you opened them; you may also complete each line of the poem before allowing yourself to open the next article.
10. If you so choose, hyperlink each line—or the list word taken from it—to the corresponding article.
April 23, 2016
for George Bowering
(teacher; morning; suit)
(station; bog; beauty)
(remains; opera; show)