Category Archives: homosyntaxism

Oulipost #24: Homosyntaxism


“I said when I took the job that I wanted them to take on my personality.” – Lloyd McClendon

She suspected when she walked
the dog that it imagined her
to dream with her nose.
He proposed when another targeted
the slope that they dumped it
to collapse across the aerospace.
They warned when we announced
the work that it believed us
to fend with our attention.
We celebrated where few holstered
the community that we gathered there
to cling to our control.
They announced when we teetered
the difference that we created it
to clamp down their frustration.
It found when we demonized
the creamery that it associated us
as eating with our stigmas.
You seemed when he clarified
the poetic license that you fantasized him
meditating with his undercurrents.


Poems were constructed from numerous articles in Seattle Times 24 April 2014 Print Replica.

Note on composition and process:

These aphoristic poem(s) are an experiment with the Oulipean constraint of homosyntaxism, which basically means the syntax remains the same. The idea was to take a setence from the April 24th edition of the Seattle Times and to replace every word with another word, but to retain the syntax, or grammatical construction. Be sure to check out the Found Poetry Review blog for the official prompt and check out other Ouliposters’ takes on this fun little synthetic form.

This one was pretty easy and reminiscent of other mad-libby exercises (n+7, chimera, antynomy, column inches). I’m pretty adept at the parsing by now. I began this one, by snagging an article from each page. Then I scanned the articles for a good sentence. I settled on 10, then chose to work with just one for now. I wrote down the sentence — it was a quote from Seattle Mariners’ skipper Lloyd McClendon that I found somewhat poetic in it’s own right. I transcribed it by parts of speech (i.e. “Pronoun Verb(ed) Relative Pronoun Pronoun Verb(ed) the Noun Pronoun Pronoun Verb(ed) Personal Pronoun to Verb Preposition Possessive Pronoun Noun.”). Then I tried my hand at just filling one in myself (first stanza/poem). I kind of felt like this was cheating a bit, so then I went back and scanned through the articles I had originally snagged, using words I found there. It barely took an hour to do everything. I’ll probably try my hand at doing this again with all the quotes I pulled out, maybe doing one stanza/poem for each article in the paper.