Better Poetry Through Algebra: OULIPO & Unlimited Poetry

Saturday, April 6, 2019 - 10:00am to 4:00pm

Class Meetings: Saturday, April 6 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, in the Poetry Center Conference Room 205. (With 1-hour lunch break) 

Registration opens December 17, 2018 at 11 AM. REGISTER HERE

"By substituting formidably strict forms for Surrealism's controversial notion of 'total liberty', the OULIPO has created an amazingly beautiful and profound body of literature." - John Ashbery

What good is a game without rules? How ingenious would a jailbreak be without the cell that demanded such ingenuity to escape it?

The irony of freedom is that in liberating us it frees us from the joy of liberation--therefore, it is our mission as poets to self-impose constraints in order to challenge our understanding of and relationship with language. To facilitate this, we'll study the tricks, techniques, and formulas developed by OULIPO to encourage creativity by breaking our well-established poetic tics and tropes. We'll follow in the footsteps of notable OULIPIANS or OULIPO-inspired writers--Raymond Queneau's infinite sonnet, 100,000,000,000 Poems; Georges Perec's 300-page lipogram, A Void; Italo Calvino's Fibonacci-based labyrinth, Invisible Cities; and Harryette Mullen's propulsive N+7s of Shakespeare's sonnets and Walt Disney's America, Sleeping with the Dictionary--in crafting dynamic and linguistically-vigorous poems that will inspire our evolution as poets. In one weekend, through reading, writing exercises, and workshops, we'll bend, break, and bring back to life the English language to the betterment of your work.