18 April 2006

Carol Peters

My friends and I have been writing prisoner's constraint poems. The poetic alphabet contains lower-case letters that have no ascenders or descenders. Mine from yesterday:

canoe winnow

         -- for Jilly Dybka: a prisoner's constraint

we earn
a worn savior
a warm mirror
a woman's reassurance

we seize
moon sneezes
maize over rice
men in mouse ears

we examine
voice over
vicious winners
verses as manumission

we mean
noise in vain
noxious suasion
names as services

we cause
air waves
iron creases
excess nerves

we vow
raw manure
race winners
reason over worms

we rouse
an inner sense
an asinine caress
an onion’s sorrow

we woo


  1. I have no idea what y'all are up to, but this is wonderful!!

  2. prisoner's constraint is writing in an alphabet that contains no letters with descenders or ascenders, i.e., you may use a c e i m n o r s u v w x z; you may not use b d f g h j k l p q t y.

    i lost a whole day on this, produced multiple "poems," and a dictionary of prisoner's constraint words.

    warning: don't jump into this if you value the rest of your life.

  3. oh my gawd. Where did you come up with this one??? Makes sestinas look like a game of Freecell.

  4. That's so cool Carol. :)

    Some folks say that using an I
    is cheating. Because of the dot.

  5. Gwynyth Mislin12:41

    Carol-I tried to work out the prisoner's constraint in a poem and find it so exhausting I think I might rather stitch up a wounded doggie...what interesting days you have, my dear.
    I don't think i is cheating. The dot might float away, after all.