Oulipost, Day 25 – Larding

Larding – line stretching, fattening up the poem.  Begin with two lines from your selected text.  Add a line between them.  Add a line between lines 1 and 2, and between lines 2 and 3.  Now you have five lines – add lines in between these so that there are 9 lines.  And so on, until you feel you have enough.
This was another constraint that I loved!  I selected two articles, and transferred lines from them to working papers.  Then I alternated selecting lines from one article and the other, as I built the poem.  So, for me, this is essentially a cento with a constraint on the construction.
I went up to the point of having 17 lines; I could have simply presented the completed piece, but am taken the way the versions both stood on their own and also built up to the final stanza.  Hope you enjoy, and see how other Ouliposters have fattened the goose at the Found Poetry Review.

 

Invocation

Poet of the urban landscape –
I don’t have a present to offer in return.

Poet of the urban landscape,
everything in my life really doesn’t matter –
I don’t have a present to offer in return.

Poet of the urban landscape,
make our cities livable, humane, inspiring.
Everything in my life really doesn’t matter;
it means breath, air, climate, wind.
I don’t have anything to offer in return.

Poet of the urban landscape –
a landscape that bears the marks of both –
make our cities livable, humane, inspiring.
Being in a place where I feel so small,
everything in my life really doesn’t matter.
This combination of density and unstraight lines,
it means breath, air, climate, wind.
They are all valid; they all exist at the same time.
I don’t have a present to offer in return.

Poet of the urban landscape –
green and ungridded,
a landscape that bears the marks of both –
it is its own wilderness.
Make our cities livable, humane, inspiring,
their practicality and resilience.
Being in a place where I feel so small,
seven storylines that end up intersecting,
everything in my own life really doesn’t matter.
This adder, concealed within its green bosom,
this combination of density and unstraight lines,
they have to learn to listen to each other.
It means breath, air, climate, wind,
a memory from childhood of the missiles on their launches.
They are all valid; they all exist at the same time.
The thing from which everything goes and comes back –
I don’t have a present to offer in return.

 

Boston Globe, April 25, 2014

Matchan, Linda. Perspectives on climate change inspired by Arctic

Rotella, Carlo. Poet of the urban landscape

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One thought on “Oulipost, Day 25 – Larding

  1. We do seem to think alike sometimes, Sonja. I really enjoyed this prompt. I was tempted not to play by the rules and just build the final poem as I wanted it structured, but I loved seeing how each iteration built to the final product. Thanks for showing all your process on this challenge too.

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