OULIPO is a literary philosophy invented by mathematicians in the 1960. The acronym stands for the French Ouvroir de littérature potentielle (a rough translation would be workshop for potential literature) and defines the term potential literature in this case with 'the seeking of new structures and patterns which may be used by writers in any way they enjoy'. This sounds like something I think I could grow fond of!
This group of writers, current as well as those who are no longer alive, have set out to find new constraints with which to inspire a change in the creative process. Rules that forces you to view your writing from a different angle.
There is much to be said about this philosophy and the work it has already created, but I will limit myself to focusing on one OULIPO constraint today, the S+7 (sometimes known as the N+7). The rules for this form is that you take an already constructed poem and exchange all the nouns in it for the 7th noun after it in a dictionary. Exchange noun for noun and the poem might not make any sense at all, or - even more interesting - it might force you to look at your work in a completely new light!
Want to give one of the OULIPO constraints/forms a go? Please feel free to enter whatever work this post inspires - or any of your other work in The Gooseberry Garden's Poets Picnic Week 22, where the wonderful Kay offers us the theme Spring, Colours, Trees and New Life.
I hope to see you back in The Gooseberry Garden again next week, if we don't come across each other rambling around the blogosphere before then.