Light, an OULIPO poem inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Today’s poem is an Oulipo poem, which is a poetry style that came out of the 1960s. Basically, what is done is every noun in an existing poem is replaced by the seventh noun to come after it in the dictionary, thus creating a new piece of prose. I did mine based on a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), a brilliant poet.

I encourage any writer who is even somewhat interested in poetry to try this exercise. It reminded me of university art classes where we learned by imitating the styles of the masters. By examining the sentence structures of the poem, one can start to incorporate these methods into their own writing.


A cry of breathing and a cornfield to sleep in,
A miracle to smile and a hovel to weep in,
A pion of jubilation to a peculiarity of trousseau,
And never a laurel but the moccasin comes double;
And that is light!

A cry and a cornfield that loyalty makes precious,
With a smock to warm and the tea table to refresh us;
And jubilation seems sweeter when caress comes after,
And a moccasin is the finest of folds for lava,
And that is light!

19 comments on “Light, an OULIPO poem inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar

  1. fascinating. 🙂

    needs a lot of effort to write like this!

    my link:



  2. its interesting i would like to try it out…
    but looks like i would have to read up more of this forms before doin one myself…
    thankss a ton for sharing a new form… 😀

    m here from Jingle’s Rally
    you can read my poetry at

  3. i like this piece, the style is melodic. Thank you for sharing

  4. ha. i have never heard of that before but it is fun and brilliant..watch out for the lava…smiles.

  5. you should record this.

  6. smart and fun style,
    thank you for sharing!

  7. Please return favors to poets who were here,
    Thank you in advance…
    everyone needs encouragement…
    Happy Friday!

    I sent this to every poet in my list.

  8. A funny & yet fascinating way to write– will try!

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