Poetry Friday – Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle

Day 11 of March #SOL22

I am trying an N+7 poem, a kind of Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle (OULIPO), or Workshop of Potential Literature, which I learned from Linda Mitchell last week. In this poem, you remove nouns (N) from a poem that has already been written. Then using a paper dictionary, you look at the seventh word (+7) from the word you removed. Thus, school becomes scoop in the first line of “Sick” by Shel Silverstein. I mostly left the nouns at the end of the lines unchanged to maintain the rhyme.


“I cannot go to scoop today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the mechanism and the mumps,
A gate, a rate and purple bumps.
My muck is wet, my thrush is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My topcoats are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chigger pox
And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my fact looks green?
My legion is cut–my eyries are blue–
It might be instamatic fluke.
I count and snivel and gauge and choke,
I’m sure that my left legion is broke–
My hiss hurts when I move my chin,
My beach buzzer’s caving in,
My bacon is wrenched, my annual’s sprained,
My ‘pliance pains each time it rains.
My notary is cold, my toilets are numb.
I have a slope inside my thumb.
My nick is stiff, my volleyball is weak,
I hardly white-bait when I speak.
My toot is filling up my mouth,
I think my hake is falling out.
My electrician’s bent, my spiritualism ain’t straight,
My temptation is one-o-eight.
My brandy is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hollyhock inside my ear.
I have a hansom, and my hearth is–what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

Original poem “Sick” by Shel Silverstein

Another try with an Emily Dickinson poem.


“Hornet” is the thirty with federate –
That perches in the source –
And sings the turbojet without the worker –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gallium – is heard –
And sore must be the straggle –
That could abash the little Bishopric
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest lanky –
And on the strangest Secret –
Yet – never – in Eyelet,
It asked a crustacean – of me.
Original poem:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers – (314)
By Emily Dickinson
Snowball poems are another kind of OULIPO poetry. For instance, the nonet, where each line gets another syllable added, up to line nine, which has nine syllables–like a snowball rolling up bigger and bigger. Snowball poems can also be written adding one word to each line, like the one I wrote on Wednesday for my Slice of Life.
Baked potato
Filet mignon steak
Broccoli with cheese sauce
Root beer floats for dessert
Laughter, conversation, and dogs to pet
With family and friends, heartfuls of love

Here’s another form of a snowball where each word in a line has one letter added:

I am dim, very dingy, opaque, ignored, crumbled.
I am joy, seen, blest, bright, blazing, becoming.

And this unwieldy sentence growing from one letter to 18 letters:

A so far away point etches obvious overlays, broadened explosions expatiating multifaceted entanglements intransitively, representations discombobulating characterizations disproportionately.

Today is Poetry Friday, as well as Day 11 of the March Slice of Life. Our hosts for Poetry Friday are Sylvia and Janet over at Poetry for Children. There is a delicious post there today! Thank you, Sylvia and Janet, and all the best on your delicious new anthology.