Oulipo 11: April 11 — Univocalism

11 Apr

A heads up: a call for submissions to Red Wolf Issue #2. I’ll post the info tomorrow.

Having enjoyed the lipogram, I was not as fearful as I might have been of this prompt. I played with the idea of structuring the poem with a different vowel per stanza, but finally settled on the vowel I originally thought I wanted, ‘i’.

My own constraint was to take all my words from one article in the Chronicle’s ‘Datebook’ [which is where I am sourcing all my poems]. The columnist, Jon Carroll, had wonderful words to play with. I copied them down in order, but ended up shifting some around, except for tickly/ with/ still, which is the serendipitous combination that caught me.

The prompt:

‘A univocalist text is one written with a single vowel. It is consequently a lipogram in all the other vowels. If he had been univocally minded, Hamlet might have exclaimed, “Be? Never be? Perplexed quest: seek the secret!” All words must be sourced from your newspaper.’

The poem:

his lips


his lips

win     I


The source:

Jon Carroll’s Column: ‘Datebook’ San Francisco Chronicle.  11 April 2014. E3


Posted by on 11/04/2014 in exercises, oulipost, poems, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

8 responses to “Oulipo 11: April 11 — Univocalism

  1. Misky

    11/04/2014 at 3:27 pm

  2. Androgenious

    11/04/2014 at 5:26 pm

    I adore the reversal in the third stanza. “tickly with still” – so lovely!

    • margo roby

      11/04/2014 at 8:11 pm

      My favourite part — thank you!

  3. whimsygizmo

    12/04/2014 at 2:28 am

    OH! “Tickly with still” — LOVE!
    “i” was my vowel, too. In fact, my theme is similar. Written earlier today, but no internet until now.

    • margo roby

      12/04/2014 at 12:16 pm

      Me too, de. I do love serendipity.
      Poe has a poem to bells where each stanza reflects a different metal through its vowels. The ‘i’ stanza has always been my favourite.

  4. sonjajohanson10

    17/04/2014 at 12:04 pm

    You pulled out a love poem with this prompt! Envious.


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