Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A day late, and a dollar. My exit Oulipost interview

In which I revisit the initial Oulipost questions, and put them into the past tense with my own spin.

What was the most exciting part about Oulipost?

It was really fun to play around with different forms and be a little less structured in the content I produced. While being more structured in specific things that needed to be done each day. Given that I only moved to Houston in the last year, obsessively scanning the local paper was a pretty good way to get a feel for my new home.

Now that I have had time to read other people’s work, I am really impressed by what other people did with the prompts and the different ways they responded. Oulipost is completely new to me, and it kind of freed me up. I have been playing around a bit with applying some of the forms to other texts, and it’s really cool, what comes out.

What was the LEAST exciting part of Oulipost?

I am new to this approach, and while I think it was good for me, there were lots of “Crap! What do I do with THIS?” moments. Scary is different than exciting, for me.

Even less exciting was the commitment in terms of time. April was a bad month in terms of free time. I suspect any month would have been just as bad. The only good month to do something is the month you don’t have to.

What did you learn about writing experimental or found poetry?

I wasn’t aware of how many constraints were possible! It was challenging many days, but what was surprising was that the constraints produce far more in the way of creativity than I ever thought. I was really impressed by what other people could do.

The other thing I learned, more generally, is something I probably should have always known, but that it’s easy to forget. You get out what you put in. When I didn’t have much time to work on things, there was never a poem I was really proud of. Inspiration seems to work best in the context of either a lot of excess time, or a lot of hard work, or both.

FPR: What did you learn about source  material?

I did best when I could sit in the coffee shop, pen in hand, and mess around with the actual physical, literal Houston Chronicle. I can understand why the morning paper was such a ritual for so many people for so long, and I do think a lot gets lost in the translation to digital, at least in terms of the sense experience.

I tried to focus on the local sections of the newspaper, or the sections with the most regional inflections, like sports. This felt a little more general. There were some national stories I couldn’t resist, but I was worried that too many of these would make things generic.

FPR: Who is your- ?

I’m still going with Burt Reynolds, or perhaps Sterling Archer.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

after addam: agenda

after addam: agenda

story: bear born,
rabbits made hush/
dead/away. happy,
tomorrow’s agenda:
one happy touch


It appears that I have the found poetry bug, although I also have the “not doing anything productive with creative writing every day” bug. It’s a competition between my better and worse instincts. It’s probably fitting that I used Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam novel as the source for this found poetry exercise. I kept it short and simple.  I decided not to add any additional words.

Take the closest book to you. Open it to page 56 paragraph 1, line 4 and pick three random words.
Then open the book to page 107 paragraph 3 line 2 and pick three random words.
Now flip to a random page and find some dialogue. Find one word used to convey what a character is saying. It CANNOT be the word "said".
Invert the number of that page (321=123), and find an adjective and a subject

Now go to the last page and pick one word from each paragraph, line 3. One of them must be a verb.

Now write something with it. A six word story. A poem. Short story. A novel.

You have the option of just using those words or adding others with them.
BUT, you must use all of the words you found during this exercise in some capacity. It can be the plural or a different tense of the world, but it must have the original root.

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