Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dress Deferred--an OULIPO

Dress Deferred

What happens to a dress deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a rake in the sup?

Or fester like a sorrow--
And then run?

Does it stink like rotund meconium?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a systaltic swig?

Maybe it just sags
like a hebdomadal lobby.

Or does it explode?

This poem is an OULIPO--which stands for the first letters in some French phrase. (I recommend following the link to learn more.) The basic idea is to take a poem already in existence and apply a formula to the poem to produce a new poem. Dress Deferred takes Langston Huges' Dream Deferred and for each noun, substitutes the seventh unique noun found the the dictionary after the original word. It also takes each adjective and substitutes the first unique adjective found in the dictionary after the original word. Thus, if we let Dream Deferred be represented by L and Dress Deferred be represented by S, we get:

(NL+7)(AL+1) = S

A mathematical approach to poetry!

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