Poems were constructed from numerous articles in Seattle Times 13 April 2014 Print Replica.
Note on composition and process:
These visual poems are a vispo variation on the Oulipean take on the traditional Epithalamium, or wedding poem. Much like the beau present, the Oulipean Epithalamium uses only the letters of the seed text — the names of the bride and groom –to compose the poem. The Found Poetry Review added another twist, to find the names of the bride and groom in the local paper and to try to use words found in the paper for April 13, 2014 (read the prompt and other Ouliposters’ attempts at the form on the FPR blog).
The prompt had asked us to use the wedding announcements in our local paper to source our bride and groom. This turned out to be more difficult than I had imagined. Not only do the wedding announcements in my local paper — The Seattle Times — only appear once a month (the first Saturday of the month), but because (I’m assuming here) it costs a small fortune to publish a wedding announcement, there have only been 3 in the last 6 months. And it took a fair amount of search engine savvy just to figure that out. Eventually I found the web portal for “joyous occasions” announcements, and decided to dedicate my Epithalamiums to Ryo & Kanae Tsujinami, who were married in Japan in February.
I then, did my usual text extraction from the Seattle Times print replica, and ran various chunks of the text through Doug Luman’s Ouliposcripts, using the “beau present” tool, since these epithalamium are pretty much another form of a beau present. Finally I took the text results and ran them through Wordle, a web-based word cloud generator to get the final pieces. The texts above represent different chunks of the larger text. The first comes from focusing solely on the front page of the paper, the second uses the entire text of the paper, and the third uses only the text from the “A” section of the paper.
This strikes me as a fun form. I might try working this out a bit more next month, going page by page to see what sticks.
A Mariner is
at last a
Life is just what happens to you
All in : noon
no A on
On-line an &
no I U one a-
Beau Présent Sound Maps
Poems were constructed from numerous articles in Seattle Times 08 April 2014 Print Replica.
Note on composition and process:
These poems were an experiment with the Oulipean form, Beau Présent, or the Beautiful In-law. The concept of the form is meant to honor a person by using only the letters of their name to make a poem. In keeping with the Oulipost project, the honorees of these Beau Présents are pulled from today’s Seattle Times, as is the text content of the poems.
As I’ve done with quite a few of these forms so far, I started with the print replica of today’s Seattle Times (it’s the print version in pdf form). I copied and pasted all of the text into a Word document, stripped the formatting, and separated out each page of the paper. I then hunted for names on each page. I wanted to play with letter availability, concept, theme, etc. Once I had done that, I ran the lipogram tool on Doug Luman’s handy Ouliposcript app to eliminate words with letters not present in the assigned names (Doug actually has a new tool specifically for the beau présent, but I didn’t realize until I had already done most of the work). I then stripped out all the numbers and most of the punctuation, which resulted in the sound maps, three of which I’ve pictured above. I then eliminated all the white space and began cutting many of the repeated word, while retaining as much of the order as possible. The result is the first two poems, which come from page A1 and A2 respectively. The first one, “Home Opener” takes some liberty with the name, using instead of a person’s name, the name of our local baseball team, the Seattle Mariners (the main front page story was about today’s M’s home opener. The second honoree is Julian Lennon (son of John), who page A2 says turns 51 today. I took the title from John Lennon’s song “Beautiful Boy.”
I really like how these are turning out, though I’m aware the syntax bending I borrow from vispo, lettrism, and zaum is not everyone’s cup of tea. But I just love palindromes like “no A on” especially after a line ending with the word noon. It’s the kind of visual punning I always loved in texts like Bp Nicol’s Zygal. I keep coming up with these fun surprises and it’s only been a week. I’m excited to see where the month takes all this!