Oulipost #29: Canada Dry

Last Auction

in a twister that
said the county has ended
the list of targets
we knew this day
satellites from space showed
logging trucks will be
the latest onslaught
turn to tunnel
this portal is just
a tragedy might help revive
a dwarfed Monday

Sterling Fallout

Many players want
good news on the horizon
outrage over racist comments
surrounded by maybe a dozen
possible options. It remains
a beacon of hope for mariners
a suspension of indefinite
chance, he said.

Bikini Kills 90’s

As in so many of these awful cases
transit reorganized itself into
a teachable moment
might reveal sanctions
In the end it’s my responsibility
keeps her heritage at
no surprises rule
after a half-mile wide tornado carved
the tunnel boring machine
announced at a news conference.


Poems were constructed from numerous articles in the  Seattle Times 29 April 2014. Print.

Note on composition and process:

These poems are sort-of quasi-oulipean experiments, an procedure Oulipeans called Canada Dry, which takes it’s name from the soft drink marketed as “the champagne of ginger ales.” The drink may have bubbles, but it isn’t champagne. In the words of Paul Fournel, who coined the term, a Canada Dry text “has the taste and color of a restriction but does not follow a restriction.” 

While many of the methods and procedures I’ve toyed with this month may have appeared random, or works of pure chance, they are anything but. The Dadaists and Surrealists may have engaged the creative potential of chaos via chance-operations, but the Oulipeans employed their arbitrary constraints as a bulwark against chance. These poems, though they sound combinatorial, or constrained, like many of the syntax substitutions, are really just products of chance. I simply placed the paper on the table and spun my pen in the air above it. I jotted down the phrases it landed on, and kept going until the poems seemed done. They required little of me as a writer, only a time, place, and the laws of physics.

Be sure to check out the Found Poetry Review blog to see how other writers emulated constraint without constraints.


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