I’ve been reading about Oulipo and n+7 online, and happened upon this article in The Atlantic which talks about it, as well as touching on why Wordsworth is “responsible for the largely mistaken direction of most modern literature” and contains not one but two hilarious rewrites of his “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.”
4 thoughts on “Fluttering and dancing in the cheese.”
N + 7 sounds like much contemporary poetry wherein the nouns, adjectives, and even phrases can be recombined to form a poem that sounds quite like the original, ie, something about nothing. The idea is great, though, since contemporary poetry can be about language itself. Poetry about language, NOT poetry about poetry.
But even an abstract artist/writer/dancer has a goal. What would be the purpose of N + 7? It’s amusing, yes; but what else might I gain or take away?
What I use it for is to give myself ideas when the well has run dry. I don’t have a whole lot of use for poetry about language, much as I recognize its value to the conversation about poetry (and sometimes it’s very funny, too). The way I use N+7 and similar tricks is to provide myself with a starting point, and then I go through and highlight the phrases I like, and throw away everything else, and then I arrange those phrases in a way that creates meaning for me, and save any that don’t fit for later (and usually forget all about them), and then fill in the empty spaces. Or I might take just one evocative phrase and use it as a title or something.
Any end product I might get is not going to be an N+7 poem anymore, though, since it would have been so heavily edited by that time.
Sounds like a good idea. I will try it.
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