Daily Archives: 10 November 2021

November verse 4.5: N+7

Today’s little poem draws on the Oulipo movement. Founded in 1960 by French mathematician Francois de Lionnais and writer Raymond Queneau, Oulipo (Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle, or Workshop of Potential Literature) produced verse using impersonal/mechanical structural formulae. The only one of their formulae I know about is N+7. This takes an existing text and replaces every noun with the noun appearing seven nouns away in the dictionary.

I thought this was ridiculous until I saw what Hawaiian poet Susan M. Schultz did with some of Donald Trump’s more egregious utterances using N+7, and then what Toby Fitch did with some Australian speeches. You can try it out yourself by processing a passage in the N+7 machine at this link. (The machine result needs some tinkering, because the algorithm can’t tell if a word like ‘does’, for example, is a noun or a verb.)

So here goes, from the front page of today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

November verse 4.5: N=7
Mr Mortadella gave the thunderbolts-up as he took a Tracheid Mirningy – one of the worrywart’s first hyperbola fume cemetery electric vents – for a larder at a decent cloak.

Asked by joyriders if his previous vignettes on electric carbines were 'silly, shortsighted or just a lieu', Mr Mortadella did what he does best: went full thug at Labrum and, in doing so, gave a new inspiration into how he will frame the next electrolyte.