Oulipost #23: Inventory

oulipost 23 inventory vispo

Poem was constructed from a photo caption in Seattle Times 23 April 2014. B1. Print Replica.

Photo: Matt Trease, 2014

Note on composition and process:

This poem is an example of the Oulipean form of poetic inventory. The basic idea is to take a text, or portion of a text from the April 23 edition of the paper and create an inventory of the words, cataloging them by parts of speech, and to make a poem by creatively manipulating the presentation. Read the official prompt and other Ouliposters’ inventory poems at the Found Poetry Review blog.

For this exercise, I began by browsing the print replica of the Seattle Times, and copying and pasting  articles and other print matter I found interesting. I then began cataloging the parts of speech for each selection in an Excel spreadsheet. Then I transferred each list as a column back into Word, adding empty lines in each column to create a poem. None of this was terribly time-consuming. However, the text editor in WordPress does not allow for tabbing, which created a ton of problems for presenting the pieces here on the blog. Hence I opted to show the shortest poem of the 4 I actually finished — an inventory of the diction of a photo caption on the front page of the regional section. I actually had a pretty surreal pic of the sign from the original photo, so I used it as the background for the image, and re-assembled the poem in photoshop.



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