Oulipoem 8: April 8 — Beau Present

08 Apr

The prompt:

Select a name from one of your newspaper articles, famous or not. Compose a poem using only words that can be made from the letters in that person’s name. For example, if you selected “John Travolta,” you may only use words that can be made from the letters A, J, H, L, N, O, R, T and V.

The use of web-based tools is highly encouraged to help uncover different words that can be made from your letters of choice. One tool you might consider is the Scrabble Word Finder.

The names I looked at are: Peaches Geldof, Georgia O’Keefe, Francesco Marciuliano, and the one I chose [which was the first name I saw], Chinatown Station. Noticing that mutiny was spreading through the ranks in the form of not taking words from the article the names appear in, I cheerfully plunged in. Faced with seventy zillion words, I winnowed, while I waited for an epiphany. Once the idea struck, I needed to focus only on a few words and who knows, maybe these things happen at Chinatown Station.

The poem:

Chinatown Station

I won’t!
I want to… wait… wait…

(a satanic chant?)




I can’t.
I can’t.



The source:

‘Datebook;’ San Francisco Chronicle 8 April 2014 E1


Posted by on 08/04/2014 in exercises, oulipost, poems, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

25 responses to “Oulipoem 8: April 8 — Beau Present

  1. Mildred Achoch

    08/04/2014 at 2:44 pm

    I love it! It’s like the trailer of the horror movie “Chinatown Station” (cue creepy music)

    • margo roby

      08/04/2014 at 2:49 pm

      I had more damn fun, Mildred.

  2. Misky

    08/04/2014 at 2:49 pm

    I might strike a few lines out of this one that add nothing to its meaning.

    • Misky

      08/04/2014 at 2:57 pm

      I am a mutineer, apparently. I didn’t read the instruction to mean those words must come from the article, only the name used.

      • margo roby

        08/04/2014 at 2:58 pm

        That’s okay. There’s more of us than there is of them!

        • Misky

          08/04/2014 at 3:40 pm

          Just rewrote it, reformatted it, chewed it, blew bubbles and squeaked. Now it’s time for Pukka tea.

          • margo roby

            08/04/2014 at 3:45 pm

            Whoo hoo! I’ll chug over. For the poem too, of course.

            • Misky

              08/04/2014 at 4:16 pm


              • barbcrary

                08/04/2014 at 6:39 pm

                Minsky, you didn’t have to use the words only from the articles. We are having fun here, correct? And my version of having fun didn’t include the use of the words “in” and “is” over and over and over. The rules were quite bendy on this one, from what I read. So –

                • barbcrary

                  08/04/2014 at 6:40 pm

                  Whoops, you’re Misky – sorry to confuse you with that pesky Minsky (the last name of one of my first bosses and not exactly one of my favorites). Please accept my apology.

                • Misky

                  09/04/2014 at 3:42 am

                  Excellent news. Thanks!

      • sonjajohanson10

        08/04/2014 at 10:26 pm

        I missed that directive also; don’t feel too badly!

        • Misky

          09/04/2014 at 3:41 am


  3. Hannah Gosselin

    08/04/2014 at 5:06 pm

    I love the choppy lines that give the fast frantic tone along with the words…your angle is great!

    • margo roby

      08/04/2014 at 5:16 pm

      It was fun!!!

  4. whimsygizmo

    08/04/2014 at 8:01 pm

    Okay, that “Anon” just
    Love the choppy feel of this, like we’re in a subway listening to snippets of a story that will soon be on Nightline. 😉

    I’m here if you wanna wander over:

    • margo roby

      08/04/2014 at 8:42 pm

      The Anon niggled at me because I knew the line from somewhere. So, I said it in my head exactly as I thought I had heard it and finally worked out that the Porter in Macbeth says it. Are brains a strange thing, or what?

      I’m wandering over.

  5. Marty Elwell

    08/04/2014 at 9:23 pm

    Ouch 😉

  6. sonjajohanson10

    08/04/2014 at 10:27 pm

    Wow, you are getting very playful with these!

    • margo roby

      08/04/2014 at 10:29 pm

      Desperate measures, Sonja!

  7. purplepeninportland

    08/04/2014 at 11:56 pm

    You can muse over this one for quite a while. I did. ‎

  8. Pingback: April 8 Shrimp Boy Poem | Light Words
  9. Carol Carlisle

    09/04/2014 at 6:35 pm

    I went ahead and hit publish on my Shrimp Boy Poem mostly to show off the cool liquor label.

    • margo roby

      09/04/2014 at 6:58 pm

      You’re a wild woman, you are, but I’m glad you did.

  10. Reiser Perkins

    10/04/2014 at 5:07 am



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