CRLiterature is pleased to announce an exciting contest full of wonder, fascination, and pure ecstasy! That is... The OuliPoetry Contest!
What is OuliPoetry?The Oulipo movement is the combination of mathematics and poetry created in 1960 by French mathematician Francois de Lionnais and writer Raymond Queneau. It is the Workshop of Potential Literature.Based on their ideas, and for the purpose of this contest, you will be using the Applied Poetics website to create poems using the methods described below.
The Contest RulesWe are tasking you, the awesome poets of DeviantArt, with creating a Found Poem using the constraint prompts listed below. You will use the Applied Poetics website as a tool to help you complete your poem. Your goal will be to use the words left over after using your Oulipo constraints to form a new, original poem with those left over words. In essence, a found poem.The contest will run from March 7th (at the posting of this journal) to March 31st 11:59PM PST. To find out when this is in your local time, click here.Your may submit one poem per constraint prompt; however, you will only be able to win once. This means that you could submit 5 pieces in total. Duplicate entries using the same constraint prompt will be disqualified. Not that complicated, right?To submit your entries, link them in the comments below and a CRLiterature admin will submit them to our Oulipoetry Contest Entries folder.
What are the prompts?!As mentioned, these prompts will all be used through the Applied Poetics website. For most, you will need to find a source text that you can use (the reasoning will become clear when you read each prompts' description).We suggest places like ProjectGutenberg.org for classic novels, magazines with online content like The New Yorker for fiction and creative nonfiction, but you can also use newspaper articles from a local or national newspaper that you have free or subscription access to or any kind of magazine from Teen Vogue to Sports Illustrated. Onto the prompts!
PRISONER'S CONSTRAINTDifficulty: EasyWhat It Is and How To Use: On the Applied Poetics website, click Oulipean and choose Prisoner's Constraint. A description pops up that reads, "Imagine you are a prisoner who is attempting to write letters to the outside conserving both ink and paper. To do so, you would write only the letters which take the smallest amount of space—those without ascenders or descenders (such as J, H, T, etc.). This prompt removes all words which contain the offending letters." Before hitting Run, make sure your source text is pasted into the main website.Pro: It's much less limited than other examples, like the tautogram, so it's easier.Con: No "the". No "you". Lots of words you can't have. It's like being on a restricted diet, but at least you can eat some of the things!
BEAU PRESENTEDifficulty: MediumWhat It Is and How To Use: On the Applied Poetics Website, click Oulipean and choose Beau Presente. The description reads, "This constraint is one in which words can only be made up of letters in a given name or phrase." You will paste your text into the main website page and enter in your filter phrase or name into the box above Run. You'll be left with only words beginning with the letters in your phrase or name.Pro: You will have lots of options left over after using the tool.Con: If you use, for example, your username, you will only be left with the letters that make up your username. This could get tricky if your username is short or has repeating letters. For example, brennenxr would only be able to use words starting with B, R, E, N, and X.
QUESTIONS ONLYDifficulty: MediumWhat It Is and How To Use: On the Applied Poetics Website, click Grammar/Syntax and choose Isolate Sentences. After pasting your source text into the website, choose the ? option and click RUN. This will return only sentences asking questions. Your MAY edit the sentences for length, but you MUST keep all of the words in their original order and they must remain questions.Pro: There are no limitations on what letters you can use! So you will be able to have lots of articles and parts of speech!Con: Writing a poem entirely in questions can be tough, especially if you want it to make sense! But that's why the difficulty level is medium.
UNIVOCALISMDifficulty: Over 9000!What It Is and How To Use: On the Applied Poetics Website, click Oulipean and choose Univocalism. The description reads, "Returns only words containing a selected vowel." First paste your source text into the website and choose your vowel. Once you hit RUN, you'll be left with words containing that vowel. Pro: Your only limitation is on the vowels!Con: You only get one freaking vowel.
TAUTOGRAMDifficulty: Over 9000!What It Is and How To Use: On the Applied Poetics Website, click Oulipean and choose Tautogram. The description reads, "This constraint sorts out all words beginning with a selected letter." Essentially, paste your source text and choose whichever letter you'd like.Pro: This is a super fun challenge and it can create a really cool-sounding poem since all your words begin with the same letter.Con: You have to choose carefully and work around the letter you picked. If you don't pick a or t, you'll be working entirely without articles.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU CITE ALL OF YOUR SOURCES IN YOUR DESCRIPTIONS. Caps lock means seriousness. In your descriptions you should have: YOUR SOURCE TEXT, which constraint prompt you used, and what variables you used at the Applied Poetics website (ex. which letter you chose in Tautogram).
So what about prizes?!
That's right, we have some great prizes for you to take home. We've tasked you guys with trying new things and we want to reward your efforts. As stated above, you may submit one poem per constraint for a maximum of five submissions. Judging will be based on creativity, use of the constraints
andthe final piece.
Remember that this contest is a Found Poetry
contest.First place wins:
1200 points, courtesy of communityrelations
A copy of ACOUSTIC BATTERY LIFE by E. Kristin Anderson (PinkyMcCoversong
$15 Amazon Gift card from TheMaidenInBlack
Critique & Feature from LiliWrites
Feature from HugQueenSecond place wins:
800 points, courtesy of communityrelations
A copy of ACOUSTIC BATTERLY LIFE by E. Kristin Anderson (PinkyMcCoversong
1 month Core Membership from TheMaidenInBlack
Feature from LiliWrites
Feature from HugQueenHonorable mentions win:
1000 points split equally, courtesy of communityrelations
Features from LiliWrites
Features from HugQueen
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO THE PRIZE POOL, PLEASE NOTE CRLiterature
YOUR JUDGES ARE:
Leave your questions below, and as a final send off, we leave you with a quote from the Applied Poetics website creator, Doug Luman.
Thinking and talking about constraints I often come back to Mark Zuckerberg. A strange referent, but a productive one. His wardrobe is exclusively the same color of sweatshirt and jeans. He wakes up in the morning and doesn't have to think about what he's going to wear, or spend extravagant amounts of money on clothes. Some may see it as lazy or that he's not exactly sartorially-inspired, but I see it as what some writers refer to as an "enabling constraint"—something that limits the universe of possibilities just enough to make either a definable list of choices apparent or simply to force our hands to make a choice. Given the opportunity, choice is disabling and disarming. As such, imposing an "enabling constraint," which is what each routine and utility at Applied Poetics really is, creates a paradox. You may think that you're taking away freedom when, in fact, you may be encouraging it by limiting the amount of choices you have to make. As I tell my creative writing students, writing is just a habit of making decisions.
Consider that you have all of the best words already in front of you; they just need to be manipulated, massaged, and arranged. As Johanna Drucker writes, when called upon, "letters will perform." Instead of asking what the "right" letters are, I encourage you to ask a different question: What will you ask them to do?