Friday, June 30, 2006

"Vishnu's watusi"     | 1   [pangram ars poetica]

A basic consideration determines each fresh gesture
How its justice keeps languid minds nodding on purpose
Quaint reasons still tether us very winsomely, XYZ

Antique boats can dazzle ebullient fabulists, going
Home. Ichor's jefe? kaiseki -- lovely meals nestled on platters.
Quaker riffs should touch upon vagrom wagang, XYZ

And being considered dexterous, earnest, functionally gifted --
Has it just kept literate machos noodling orotund poesy?
Quibble, rectify, stave -- trill until very weary, XYZ

After beauty's cautious development, every feasible gift!
House its jewels! (keep laughing, my noble). Or perhaps
Query regulars seeking to utilize vanishing waterways, XYZ

A Bodhisattva could develop elegant features. Gandharvas
Have indeed jauntily kindled life's meaning (not only promises).
Querulous rabbis stand taciturn under vesperal windows, XYX

Activated bees can do exceedingly fast gyrations,
Hover in joy, kiss lovely maidens. Need Oulipo poems
Quote recherche scholars to unleash vital wampum, XYZ?

Ardeo! become candid. Does exactitude furnish grace?
Hasn't icy January's keen lollygag made nightblue our place?
Quell rancor. Subtle tendrils uncork Vishnu's watusi, XYZ


The pangram isn't customarily practiced this way. For a pangram per se, greater brevity is sought. Whereas here, word-wise is the rule (a rule of leisure). So: for the present, new form (conceived as a poetry-form, where the objective is to compose a sequence of stanzas, rather than making one isolated sentence), perhaps I may usefully propose a modified moniker (viz., the Ardeo pangram). Its formal principle should be evident: each stanza runs (word-by-word) through the alphabet from A to W -- and "XYZ" serves as a refrain (akin to the radif of a ghazal).

Wading into such an exertion [to call it an "exercise" feels false, if simply because I'm particularly pleased with the results], one is apt to acquaint a few new words. I was happy to discover kaiseki. Likewise wagang [from wa + Scots gaun, gerund of go; in Scotland: departure, leave-taking, death]. Those unfamiliar with the watusi can find it explained here.

A more thorough characterisation of this poem might be: "an Ardeo pangram ars poetica with ghazal stylings in seven stanzas"

Oulipo: a contemporary French literary group or movement, devoted to exploring "constrained writing." As usual, the Wikipedia has a good item on Oulipo. It's only recently caught my attention -- really I don't know about those writers as yet. But I imagine this sequence of poems perhaps walks a kindred way. It was more Christian Bök's Eunoia (he's a Canadian, and writes in English -- and has been described as influenced by the Oulipo writers) that sparked fresh interest for me in dabbling in (and inventing for myself) a new constrained-writing form.


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