Congrats to Baltimore resident CarlaJean Valluzzi, who is one of 78 poets from seven countries selected to participate in the OULIPOST project this April. Coordinated by the Found Poetry Review, the initiative unites authors in applying the constrained writing techniques of the Oulipo group to text found in local newspapers. Valluzzi will be using The New York Times and others as her source text for the month.
OULIPOST is inspired by the experimental writing practices of Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle — or “workshop of potential literature”) writers. Founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais, the group encourages the application of writing constraints to generate new structures and patterns.
“Oulipo constraints provide poets a chance to break free from the restrictions and challenges they face in their everyday writing practices,” noted Found Poetry Review Editor-in-Chief Jenni B. Baker. “We’re encouraging writers to be bold, take risks and write about topics they normally wouldn’t touch.”
Examples of the writing constraints poets will face range from relatively simple—a tautogram in which every word in the poem must start with the same letter—to a sestina, a fixed verse form consisting of six stanzas of six lines each, followed by a short three-line stanza. In all cases, the words and phrases incorporated into the poems must be taken from the poet’s local newspaper.
“I’m exceedingly pleased and honored to have been chosen to participate in this exciting and challenging endeavor for National Poetry Month,” explains Valluzzi. “Poetry, both the reading and writing of it, is as close to a religious experience as I’ve had.”
This is the third year the Found Poetry Review has led a project for National Poetry Month. Last year, the journal enlisted 85 poets to create found poetry from the 85 Pulitzer Prize-winning works of fiction as part of its Pulitzer Remix project.
Keep track of Valluzzi’s progress on her blog, at imisspaperletters.com. View updates from all OULIPOST poets at http://bit.ly/oulipost.