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Spaced out Ramblings

Musing from the local alien - OR - Spacedlaw's Cleansing Fire of Punk

WARNING: Most of the entries are for friends only.


Most of this journal consists of stories I have spun out of thin air.
In general I only share them with friends.



March 20th, 2015

Photobombing of some sort

A dark monster with a smile full of sun

Astral prima donna!

February 25th, 2015

Eugene Onegin play after Pushkin's poem, directed by Rimas Tuminas of the Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia

This little slip should speak for itself:

Of course, a smattering of Russian knowledge would have helped - and I did buy myself the corresponding Rosetta Stone starter set the day after - but the enchanting, dream-like and often silent performance can easily hold audiences enthralled during the 3 hours and a bit it takes to unfold its magic.

Mesmerizing ballets and music (by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, along with original score by Faustas Latenas, as well as Russian and French folk songs). Tragedy, comedy. One spurious white rabbit. One young man in tights!
What's not to like?

If it comes your way, GO SEE IT!

February 14th, 2015

Like a fine veal cut

Celebrating Valtentine"s day

Or so they seem to think at the Covered Market in Oxford.
Fine Massacre Day, friends!

December 14th, 2014

Some people will pick your pockets (in most subways and crowded buses) but in the nearly deserted new line C of the subway, it would be difficult to do so and not be spotted.
But since the line is fully automated and without a driver, the front carriage always attract the curious and I, the pickportraiter, prey upon them with with my phone's camera.



I almost got caught doing this one but since I never look at my victims when I operate...
I do have to remember being careful during underground parts of the transfer, as the window behind me turns into a mirror (and therefore into evidence) against the dark background.

December 1st, 2014

Testing. 1, 2, 3...

By night

October 31st, 2014

Happy creepy

It"s raining skulls

Happy Halloween

The Grim Reader

Happy HallowRead

October 28th, 2014

Remember that recipe I nicked from Heston Blumenthal?
An amount of porridge oats
Three time that amount in liquid
Three time that amount in flavoured butter (!)
Some aromatic purée
A VERY short cooking time?

As in: You boil the liquid, add the oats, let them absorb the liquid stirring, add the butter, adjust liquids if necessary.
Take off the heat.
Add the puréed stuff.

I have been making a lighter version of my tomato version over the past weeks – using basil infused olive oil instead of butter and cottage cheese or labneh instead of burrata.

But last Sunday, as I was walking about the neighbourhood in a chilly weather I was assailed by a profound desire for chocolate. So my mind toyed with the concept while I was increasing my step. Then I stopped to forage for some rosemary in bloom.

Because you see, it had to be chocolate but it still had to be savoury.

So I boiled some water (150g) with a pinch of smoked salt and a pinch of unrefined cane sugar. Added a few finely chopped leaves of rosemary.
Added 50g of rolled oats
Cooked briefly.
Took the pan away from the heat, added a big tablespoon of raw chocolate, some cocoa nibs, and a piece of salted butter.
Graced this with a dollop of cottage cheese garnished with rosemary flowers and more cocoa nibs.

Had to chase Caos away from the plate – the bid doofus has a thing for cottage cheese which I tend to humour but chocolate is toxic to animals, so no licking allowed this time.

Chocolate Porridge


It was all I had wanted.
May have to repeat in the future if my chocolate addiction does not abate.

Chocolate Porridge

All chocolate goodies from the fabulous Alyssa.

October 16th, 2014

Less we forget

On October 16, 1943, more than 1,000 Roman Jews were seized and deported to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where they arrived 6 days later. Only 16 people survived.

Virginia didn't make it.

Virginia Terracina

Such memorials, in the form of metal cobblestones are embedded in the pavement all over Rome, usually in the front of the former lodgings of the victims. Virginia is the youngest victim I have found.

September 13th, 2014

My dream window

Along the Coulée Verte

From this building in Paris:

Along the Coulée Verte

Along the Coulée Verte

Which just happens to host the Police Office of the 12th Arrondissement!

As seen from the Coulée Verte.

September 11th, 2014

Le moelleux de Ludovic

As per miracle, holiday happened. Very briefly and intensely - and all over the place:

- Went to Cupra Marittima for Ferragosto (mostly ate)
- Then back home for 2 days (mostly packed)
- Then to Paris (ate and walked the Coulée Verte) for a day or so
- Then to Nancy (visiting my parents, reading, and eating) for five days
- Then back to Paris (barely the time to eat) for half a day
- Then home for a blink (I only just barely made it into the Frida Kahlo exhibition before it closed - some laundry was performed)
- Then to Cura Marittima again (some walking about happened) for 2 days and a half
- Then to Sarnano for six days. There - thank goodness - it rained so I could not walk about so much and was forced to REST.
- Then back home to do laundry and mentally prepare for return into madness

(I need a new holiday to recover form my holiday)


While in Nancy, we were invited to an Apéro Dinatoire at my parents' new neighbours' and one of the nice dishes we were served was a wonderful and moist apple cake. We immediately petitioned the author for recipe and I decided to try a variant on my colleagues as soon as I would be back into work, to see if they could be bribed into sending me on holiday again. (not such lick yet, although they did love the cake).

Moellux Poires et Chocolat

So here's my spin on Ludovic's incredible Moelleux aux Pommes:


100g flour
1 packet of instant yeast
70g sugar
45g milk
40g soft butter
1 egg
1 pinch of salt
2 firm pears peeled and chopped in small pieces.
1 handful of small chocolate chips (the ones I have used are tiny – the size of big pin heads – so you might want to chop yours up, if needed)


70g very soft/liquefied butter
100g sugar
1 egg

Set your oven on 200ºC.
Take a square 22cm/22cm deep dish (or the round equivalent if you can be bothered to square a circle – I used a square dish because it is easier to cut pieces). Line it with parchment.
Mix all the first seven ingredients for the base. Thoroughly. Then add first the chocolate chips and last the pear pieces, making sure the batter covers them all. There is not a lot of batter and the adjunction of fruit should about double the amount that you have.
Pour the mixture into your dish and stick in the oven for 20 minutes.

While this is cooking, mix together the ingredients for the topping. You can use the same mixing bowl than for the base!
After the 20 minutes have gone, take your base out of the oven and pour the topping mixture over the top of your partially baked cake. Stick the whole thing back in the over for another 20 minutes.

Let it cool a bit (liquid in the fruits will stay warm a long time).
Eat warm (best!) or cold.

The consistency should be similar to that of a bread and butter pudding. Fruits can be changed (the original version was calling for 4 green apples – and no chocolate chips) but make sure that your fruits are not too juicy (pears are juicier than apples, even if not fully ripe, which is why I have used only 2 in my version of the recipe, adding the chocolate chips for fun) and not too ripe otherwise they might cook to some sort of jam. The nice young man I stole this recipe from (Hi, Ludovic!) has used peaches with some success and I am pretty sure this recipe would be great with plums too. It might probably also work with cherries.

Now, if I could just work out a savoury version…

August 5th, 2014

Porridge it like Heston

Where I totally poach a cooking scheme from Heston Blumenthal – no liquid nitrogen needed.

So a few weeks ago, I was in London and I went to have lunch at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
(Recipes by the man, actual cooking done by somebody else: Ashley Palmer-Watts.)
(A hoax, you say? I believe it is called a concept.)
(Semantics? Well. What wrong with that? I couldn’t make a living without semantics. I certainly couldn’t afford to eat at Dinner without semantics too.)

A very nice lunch it was too, with dishes inspired from old traditional English cook books. The oldest dish I had that day was, in its earlier avatar, traced back to 1390 while the most recent one stemmed from 1720 (clearly an upstart, though there are recipes on the menu which are as recent as the 19th century).

One of the dishes I had that day was this:

Nettle Porridge (c.1660)

Which is a nettle porridge (c.1660) garnished with frog's legs, girolles, garlic & fennel (attributed to “The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected” by William Rabisha, 1661).
The nettle porridge itself tickled my curiosity and I knew I would have to play with the idea of a savoury oat porridge not necessarily cooked in water or milk. And not reduced to mulch.

The recipe as served is actually – I believe – also a spin on Heston’s Snail Porridge, a dish from his Fat Duck restaurant which – lucky for me – made it into the pages of The Big Fat Duck Cookbook. Which I have in my - not negligible - cooking books library.
While I had bought the book mostly because of Dave Ms Kean’s art in it – the book is enormous, which make it a tad difficult to use as an actual cookbook – I was happy to resort to it in order to figure out the dynamics of that particular porridge.

Heston makes a rather complex recipe of his snail porridge, but I was able to extract some very basic tips for my own private play time:

An amount of porridge oats
Three time that amount in liquid
Three time that amount in flavoured butter (!)
Some aromatic purée
A VERY short cooking time.

The recipe more or less runs like this:
You boil the liquid, add the oats, let them absorb the liquid stirring, add the butter, adjust liquids if necessary.
Take off the heat.
Add the puréed stuff.

Voilà. Less than 10 minutes (more like five, really: the longest point must be getting the liquid to a boiling point).
Except that the original recipe involves making chicken stock, blanching and puréeing nettles, bringing together a parsleyed butter which is far more complex than what I would have envisaged from just reading those two words. And snails.
While mine didn’t.

So what was my take on it?
For now, tomatoes.
(You can’t get more Italian and seasonal than this).

What I did was to slice thinly some tomatoes and add salt so they would render their water.
Since the salad I later did with the flesh bits was rather tasteless (we’ve had too much water, I fear, for the tomatoes to really be any good), I could have just juiced the tomatoes so I would suggest you do just that, if you have the tools to do so.


Dear Heston uses 10 grams of porridge oats for 2 persons (for a starter) but I weighted that much in a bowl and thought “Naaah. That’s never going to feed my mad cyclist!” so upped the proportion to 50 grams for a primo. I could have used more – the portion was rather lean – but I was concerned about not having tomato water (using 50g of oats meant having to use 150g of liquid). Besides the recipe is fairly rich, so a little goes a nice way.

Porridge oats

The next bit to prepare was the flavoured butter.
By laws of proportion, I should have prepared 150 grams of it but I decided to keep the level of fat at about 50 grams instead (about. I didn’t weight it) on the basis that it should be already plenty and I wanted to garnish the porridge with stracciatella di burrata and a splash of olive oil.
I melted some unsalted butter, torn some basil and let the lot do their mingling magic away from the heat.

Basil infused butter

About an hour later…

Once the table was set, I boiled the tomato water, added the oats and stirred until they had absorbed the water. Since keeping a bright green colour was not on my list of priorities (as it would do if – like Heston – I had worked with puréed nettles which would have turned to a yucky green if cooked more), I left the pan on the stove and added first the flavoured butter and then some tomato sauce, table spoon by table spoon, stirring until the consistency was that of “a runny rice porridge” as per Heston’s instructions. Think risotto consistency.
Five minutes maximum all in all unless you want your oats to be thoroughly mushed.
Called the cyclist to come and eat. NOW!

Dressed the porridge in two plates, added cracked pepper, a splash of stracciatella di burrata cream, a coma of stracciatella di burrata, and a semi colon of the best olive oil I have.

Tomato porridge with stracciatella di burrata

I could totally have that for breakfast every day (for a week at least). The mad cyclist would have preferred pasta.
Next experiment will involve beetroot and blue cheese. That should be plenty colourful and tasty too.

July 23rd, 2014

Oh, show me the way to the next cocktail bar…
(Oh, don’t ask why. No, don’t ask why.)

Do ask why.

I don’t drink cocktails. They are by and large over-sweet for my taste and I drink very little alcohol anyway.
I tend to prefer my whiskey neat (because it’s good whiskey and I am not wasting it). Vodka, I normally use for cooking (unless it’s Żubrówka, in which case I drink it ice cold and neat with a side of blinis and salmon or fish eggs)
Therefore, when I got that chocolate martini making kit in the mail…

Chocolate martini making kit (by Blyss Chocolate)

Hang on.
Who gets chocolate martini making sets in the mail?

Members of the glorious Blyss Chocolate Club, that's who!
Monthly raw virgin chocolate landing at your door. Delicious eco-solidarity morsels (or powder) brought together by Alyssa, the loveliest cocoa grower and harvester you’ll ever meet. Consider getting a subscription, it is well worth it.

So I did get that kit in the mail. In June. And instructions (thank goodness). And then I immediately ran into troubles: I don’t have martini glasses.
Utter drama ensued. As you can imagine. (well, no, not really. But it could have. If I had felt strongly about cocktails in the first place. Though if I had, I most likely would not have found myself glassless. Oh well.)

Also: for health related issues, I could only sample the martini during the day (as aperitif or post prandial drink). Which meant that I could only have it during the weekend (there is sufficient mayhem at the office right now without having to add alcohol related nonsense). And I was going away for 2 weekends in a row.

Thus the kit sat – dejected – in my cupboard for almost a full month.
But by the time I was ready to have that martini, I REALLY NEEDED that martini.
(Have I mentioned that the office is murder these days?)
(That’s it’s been murder for the past seven months and is unlikely to change before… another seven or so?)

So there goes the chocolate martini mambo:

Take some good quality vodka, measure 260 ml (or more) of it in a bottle and dump the content of the raw cocoa nibs phial in it. Let it rest, shaking once a day, for at least a week.

In a saucepan, dump the content of the raw cocoa powder phial, together with sugar and 280ml water. Combine well, bring to a boil and let it cook until syrupy consistency (or until you get bored with it, which is what I did), stirring occasionally.
Let it cool.
Once cool, put in the fridge.

Measure 4cl chocolate infused vodka, 2cl chocolate syrup, 1 cl Kalhua (or if you like me think this is WAY too sweet already, substitute by equivalent measure of strong coffee). Add a couple of ice cubes.
Shake? Stir?

Call in Daniel Craig on that one: He’s the current expert.

Hem. Or don’t.

Pour over a spoonful of chocolate coated cocoa nibs in a frosted glass.

Chocolate martini

Resist having another one: This thing is sugar-loaded.

Now that is all good and nice (very good and nice actually: that thing could become addictive) but once you’ve had a glass, what do you do with the rest of the prepared stuff?
(The Love drinks even less than I do and he hates sweet stuff even more strongly than I do so there were plenty of leftovers).

(I am shocked that you didn’t even think of this yourself)
(Disclosure: I only thought about it because I kept feeling that the martini could do with some whipped cream on top)

So what you need for the Chocolate Martini Waltz is:
- The rest of the chocolate vodka added to the rest of that espresso. It should amount to roughly 250 ml.
- The rest of the chocolate syrup It should amount to roughly 250 ml as well.
- Some agar-agar powder (mine comes in handy individual doses, each of them sufficient to gel 500 ml of liquid)

Some jelly moulds or glasses (2 to 4 depending how much you want in each serving)
Whipped cream (obviously)
The rest of the chocolate covered cocoa nibs

And, possibly some cookies of your choice.
See, alcohol doesn’t gel all that well – in fact, I didn’t really know if my attempted pudding would gel at all – so a part will not set. But there are (at least) two ways to handle this:
You crumble some of your cookies of choice at the bottom of your glass/mould (not too finely, mind) and let them soak in the excess alcohol

Chocolate martini pudding

You just let the pudding float in its own alcohol, which will make a nice sauce once you have upturned the pudding in a deep dish - à la crème caramel (only in a not-suitable-for-kids type of way).

Chocolate martini pudding

For my Rome peeps, I suggest the use of Pepitas (also known as “crack”) for the first scenario.
(Pepitas are locally produced chocolate cookies loaded with dark chocolate chips and Himalayan pink salt – pure crack in a I’d-better-steer-clear-of-that-cookie-place sort of way). The salt counter-balances the sweetness of it all.

As for the pudding recipe, just mix the agar-agar with the chocolate syrup, bring it to a boil, stirring. Take off the heat and add the alcohol/coffee part, stirring some more.
Pour in the moulds/glasses and let cool before covering in cling film and placing in the fridge overnight.

The day after, either upturn your puddings or not, add whipped cream on top and garnish with the chocolate covered cocoa nibs.

(I got drunk just eating one of these, so don’t eat and drive, eh?)

May 19th, 2014

Lettre d'amour

Lettre d"Amour

April 30th, 2014

“Conclude the project by writing a poem that incorporates words and lines from all of your past 29 poems.”


Vertice nella notte e caos:
È morta due giorni fa.
Prendi un film, vieta la caccia
Lungo Corsie Borseggiatore Delfico.

Sono vivo per miracolo e
Si scontrano i sentimenti.

[Opera emersa, castello prossimo]
Illegalità in arrivo,
Lecito fino crisi,
Stalli spina di pesce,
I ragazzi sequestrati
Da favole coetanee.

Ieri ero un uomo
A cui affidare l’ispirazione di problemi,
Bighellonarci un po’ sopra
[Sorta di gel che viene poi fritto].

Con poco, troppo:
Sparisce durante nulla.

Un milione a fare zig zag:
Si muove perché esiste come il vento,
Per comprarsi della cocaine
Nel turbato inconscio sperimentale;
Altre grandi doppi imbrattati
[Svampite buccoliche]
Tempi bui a tratti dettati.

A una storia.
Anche un bacio.


And that concludes this month of Oulipian madness.
Many thanks to The Found Poetry Review for the fun exercise.

April 29th, 2014

29th April - CANADA DRY

“The name of this procedure is taken from the soft drink marketed as “the champagne of ginger ales.” The drink may have bubbles, but it isn’t champagne. In the words of Paul Fournel, who coined the term, a Canada Dry text “has the taste and color of a restriction but does not follow a restriction.” Be creative, and write a poem sourced from your newspaper that sounds like it’s been Oulipo-ed, but hasn’t.”

SOURCE: IL MESSAGGERO (on line) – ROMA – Senza Rete
Article: “Se gli ignoranti fanno gruppo di notte”
Journalist: Marco Pasqua

Per tutta la città
Spiritualità altra
Terminato il turno
Tutto, soprattutto a petto
L'altra ostentata
Tempi bui a tratti dettati
Sabato notte: Ponte

April 28th, 2014

“A text in which each word has one letter less than the preceding one, and the last word only one letter. From your newspaper, select a starting word, and then continue adding words of decreasing length from the same source article or passage. Challenge yourself further by only using words in order as you encounter them in the text.”

Source: IL MESSAGGERO (on line) - Roma
Article: “Affittava appartamenti e auto lussuose ma poi non pagava mai, a giudizio truffatore”
Journalist: Michela Allegri



April 27th, 2014

“Create a 14-line sonnet sourced from lines from your newspaper that is divided according to the first five digits of the irrational number pi – that is, into stanzas of 3, 1, 4, 1 and 5 lines.”

SOURCE: IL MESSAGGERO (on line) – Roma
Article: “Per evitare le buche ci vorrebbero le liane”
Journalist: Mario Ajello

Un milione
A fare zig zag


Ben malmessi


Che cadano
Di radici
E minori
A San Pietro

April 26th, 2014

“The outlaw in question is the name of the person (or subject) to whom the poem is addressed. Each line of the poem includes all the letters of the alphabet except for the letter appearing in the dedicated name at the position corresponding to that of the line: when writing a poem to Eva, the first line will contain all letters except E, the second all letters except V, and the third all letters except A.
Choose someone mentioned in your newspaper to whom to address your poem. Compose a beautiful outlaw poem following the procedure outlined above and using words sourced from your newspaper text.”


SOURCE; IL MESSAGGERO (on line) - ROMA - Storie
Article: “Scialla e Pasqualino: al Bioparco i due lupi feriti dai cacciatori”


Dalla tagliola d’un bracconiere
Presa e sarebbe morta se non salvata
Deve essere trattata con sgarbo
Si muove perché esiste come le volpe
Si sta adattando per ucciderti di nuovo
Si sta adattando anche sequestrata cosi
Si muove perché esiste - come il vento.

April 25th, 2014

25th April – LARDING

“Aka ‘line stretching’. From your newspaper text, pick two sentences. Add a new sentence between the first two; then two sentences in the new intervals that have become available; and continue to add sentences until the passage has attained the length desired. The supplementary sentences must either enrich the existing narrative or create a new narrative continuity.”

SOURCE: IL MESSAGGERO (on line) – ROMA – Cronaca

“Roma choc: scippata del crocefisso a Pasqua novantenne muore dopo tre giorni d'agonia”
“Anzio, sotto l'effetto della cocaina picchia la compagna incinta e le getta dell'acido: preso”
“Marino ai remi per inaugurare il laghetto: show del sindaco a Villa Borghese”
“L'imputato Pasolini, a processo per le parolacce” - Journalist: Pietro Piovani
“Minacce ai turisti, arrestato "Centurione" ubriaco al Colosseo”

È successo la scorsa notte
ad Anzio, sul litorale di Roma.

Scippata della sua catenina con il crocifisso,
proprio il giorno di Pasqua.

La vittima ha avuto 21 giorni di prognosi
per trauma cranico e contusioni,
tra cui quella all'addome.

La polizia dà la caccia ai rapinatori:
uno dei due aveva le stampelle
in evidente stato di ebbrezza, è stato arrestato

L’importante azione ha riguardato
la messa in sicurezza della fauna del laghetto

È scoppiata la lite per motivi banali
tutti risolti alla fine con un'assoluzione.

L'intervento era necessario
spiega l'assessore ai Lavori pubblici
un’intera parete ricoperta di vecchi ritagli di giornale

La donna ha raccontato che
il compagno l'aveva costretta a dargli
50 euro per comprarsi della cocaina.

I carabinieri una volta arrivati sul posto
hanno bloccato a fatica l'uomo

l'uomo ha aggredito la compagna,
mettendo a soqquadro l'appartamento

È morta dopo tre giorni Rosina Trotta,
91 anni, rapinata in strada alla periferia di Roma,
nel quartiere di Primavalle.


April 24th, 2014

“Homosyntaxism is a method of translation that preserves only the syntactic order of the original words. To give a rudimentary example, if N=noun, V=verb and A=adjective, the outline NVA could yield solutions such as “The day turned cold,” “Violets are blue,” “An Oulipian! Be wary!”)
Option 1: Choose a sentence from your newspaper source text and write as many homosyntaxisms as possible based on that same variation.
Option 2: Complete a homosyntaxism of an entire paragraph or article found in your text.”

Source: IL MESSAGGERO 9on line) – ROMA - Storie
Article: “Porta Pia, scoperta la collina da dove partì il "fuoco" che aprì la breccia”
Journalist: Laura Larcan

“La memoria della Breccia di Porta Pia si arricchisce di un nuovo luogo romano.”

La vita del Passo di Corvo si perde
tra un lungo viaggio espiatorio.

La madre di Santo Stefano si sfonda
tra le strane voglie puerperali.

La saggezza del Deserto dei Tartari si specchia
nel turbato inconscio sperimentale

La luna del pianeta Mercurio si trasforma
nel profondo spazio siderale

La stranezza delle Menzogne della Notte si preserva
dalla prima vita comune.

L’andatura delle Stelle Fredde si sta arrenando
nel buio precipizio fondamentale.

La pineta di Cupra Marittima si scioglie
nell’incerta memoria infantile

Il ritorno della Coscienza di Zeno si manteca
con poche paure bestiale.

Il casinò della Via Wagner si sfreccia
nella torba notte veneziana.

April 23rd, 2014

23rd April – INVENTORY

“Inventory is a method of analysis and classification that consists of isolating and listing the vocabulary of a pre-existing work according to parts of speech. Choose a newspaper article or passage from a newspaper article and “inventory” the nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, articles, etc.”

Source: IL MESSAGGERO (on line) – ROMA
Article: “Lasciare Roma e tornarci (nonostante tutto)”
Journalist: Davide Desario

Una, la, il, le
Ragazza Roma
C'è – è: l'ha portata
Poi in per però
Adesso perché?
Vita giro mondo
Nata cresciuta
Parigi, Londra, Washington, Tel Aviv, Bruges, Chicago, Berlino, Boston
Roma, Roma, Roma
Disfunzioni malfunzionamenti
Sue mi questa la la la
Altre grandi doppi imbrattati
Ragazza: pulizia civiltà modernità.
Città: Mondo!
Qui dopo ormai
Delle del - le
Auto fila muri faccioni politici
È tornata [vuole restarci!]
Con… e… e…
Guardando essendo abituato
Volgarità prêt-à-porter, ambulanti, padroni: quartiere metropolitane
I di da di
Scritte antagoniste fasciste
Di tra in tra
Scontrarmi sono chiesto
Gli - la - da del
Abusivi ogni indecenti
Abbia deciso, aver conosciuto
Mercato lavoro negozi passo
O… oppure…
Immobile cinese
Il alla gli agli
Paccottiglia: commessi, impiegati, sportelli
Tra che in – tra che
Tornare. Fanno, chiudono lasciando

April 22nd, 2014

22nd April – ANTONYMY

“Each word is replaced by its opposite, when one exists (black/white) or by an alternative suggesting antonymy (a/the, and/or, glass/wood).”

Article: “Natale di Roma tra rievocazioni storiche al Colosseo e visita al roseto comunale”

“Il compleanno di Roma cade quest'anno il lunedì di Pasquetta. La giornata di festeggiamenti si è aperta a metà mattina a Piazza Venezia, dove il sindaco Ignazio Marino, accompagnato dal comandante dei vigili urbani Raffaele Clemente e dal vice comandante del comando militare di Roma, il generale Giuseppe Picosio, ha percorso la scalinata dell'Altare della Patria per disporre la corona di alloro al sacello del milite ignoto.”

Un funerale di Christchurch si alza tutti i minuti dal venerdì santo. Una notte di lutto si è finita a mezzanotte fuori Cathedral Square, dove la matta Ferdinanda Montanara, disertata dal fante delle svampite buccoliche Margherita Furiosa e dal super pedone del anarchia civile di Christchurch, una minima Maria Fonda, ha evitato un percorso quasialsi del Labirinto del Anarchia per rubare cicuta dalla casa della famosissima generalissima.

As they say, back at home: “C’est fumeux.”

I had so many issue with the computer yesterday, that I forgot to post this one!

“Craft a conversation poem using “he said/she said” quotes that you find in newspaper articles.”

Non è un bacio vero
Vi sono militari professionisti
Machina del fango contro di me
Finora c’è solo un esposto.

Si partecipa in prima persona
Ma l’emozione è forte
Uno sguardo triste il più grosso problema
L’impressione di essere piuttosto eccentrico.

Quello che non volevo, quello che volevo
A una storia e c’è anche un bacio
Non posso dirti quanto sia stato liberatorio
[La liberta amplifica il senso]

SOURCE: IL MESSAGGERO – Lunedi 14 Aprile

April 20th, 2014

“Select a newspaper article or passage from a newspaper article as your source text. Switch the first noun with the second noun, the third noun with the fourth, and so on until you’ve reached the end of your text.”

Source: IL MESSAGGERO (on line) – ROMA - STORIE
Article: “Scialla e Pasqualino: al Bioparco i due lupi feriti dai cacciatori”
Journalist: Cristina Montagnaro

Settecentomila ragazzi ogni visitatori
e decine di anni del giorno
ogni scuole decidono di andare ai animali
di scoperta e di Bioparco
nelle piante di Roma.

La conservazione non solo mira
alla struttura del ricovero, ma funziona
anche da specie per difficoltà in animali.
E’ questo i lupi di Scialla e Pasqualino,
due casi italiani che da qualche ospiti
sono i due nuovi giorni.

Federico Coccìa, fondazione della presidente
della storia racconta la loro Bioparco:
“Hanno un differente Bioparco,
uno viene dalla Toscana e l’altro dall’Abruzzo,
si sono incontrati al passato;
uno è stato investito da una tagliola
e l’altro è stato preso da una macchina di un bracconiere.”.

Tra qualche interni sarà inaugurato
al giorno del museo il Bioparco
degli adulti ambientale,
per far conoscere ai crimine e ai reperti
i ragazzi sequestrati dal Stato Forestale

dello corpo negli ultimi venti messaggio,
così da far arrivare loro gli anni che
uccidere gli estinzioni porta alla loro
animali e che bisogna rispettarli e non abbatterli.
salute ambientale, educazione degli specie
e conservazione degli animali estinti

Happy Easter from sunny Rome

Your Easter Egg:

Si sono incontrati al passato
Nelle piante di Roma.
Così da far arrivare loro gli anni che
da specie per difficoltà in animali
Salute ambientale, educazione degli specie
Sono i due nuovi giorni.

April 19th, 2014

19th April – SESTINA

“A sestina is a poetic form of six six-line stanzas. The end-words of the lines of each stanza repeat those of the first, but in a differing order that in each successive stanza follows the permutation: 615243. The entire sequence of end words is thus: 123456; 615243; 364125; 532614; 451362; 246531. All words and phrases must be sourced from your newspaper text.”

As usual, I end up having to count on my fingers. And they tell us poetry has to do with words! AH!

La parte infelice di Roma:
Tra buche e le voragini,
la macchina in terza fila,
a collina di rifiuti che
sa che il vigile non passa
e nuove tasse in arrivo.

Illegalità in arrivo
sfondò le bellezze di Roma:
Da Sydney a Parigi passa,
slalomeggia tra voragini,
manifesti abusivi che
se ne balla in terza fila.

Battito di mani in fila:
Il problema è in arrivo,
un gruppo di scooteristi che
nel secolo scorso a Roma
ha colline di voragini.
La città è sporca che passa.

Che ciclicamente non passa
[inscatolati ma in fila]
suoi rifiuti in voragini
senza termine in arrivo
e si crede straricca, Roma
con un automobilista che…

O un’ambulanza non passa
a finire tutti i romani che
lasciano divani a Roma
rispetta tradizione di fila
[divertenti, fin’ dall’arrivo]
ha sullo sfondo voragini.

Pure con i geni, voragini
per strada e poi dicono che
sa il vigile in arrivo.
Il bilancio in rosso passa
i trenini in terza fila:
Perché non trasformare Roma?


Article: “Quella città che non è molto ‘Happy’"
Journalist: Mauro Evangelisti

April 18th, 2014

“Choose a sentence of short passage from your newspaper to complete a homoconsonantism. In this form, the sequence of consonants in a source text is kept, while all its vowels are replaced.”

“Piccoli nemici del citofono crescono”
Journalist: Marco Pasqua

Source text:
“Piccoli nemici del citofono crescono”

Pace cilene ma
Lecito fino crisi

Source text:
“Dario ha 40 anni e non risponde più al citofono”

Dear Honey,
No, no – NO!
Nurse pound
Polecat fun.

Di Re hanno
I “No!”
Rospo nudo

April 17th, 2014


“The haiku is a Japanese poetic form whose most obvious feature is the division of its 17 syllables into lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Haikuisation has sometimes been used by Oulipians to indicate the reduction of verses of normal length to lines of haiku-like brevity. Select three sentences from a single newspaper article and ‘haiku’ them.”

Quite a challenge considering how syllable-rich are Italian words.
Since the rules are ambiguous (should each sentence become a line of the haiku or becoming each a whole one?) I have played both terms of the equation. In addition to the format, a haiku is also supposed to have a seasonal element as well, so I went looking for article with some of this specific item in them - with mixed results (second and third articles).


Article: “L'architettura fascista che in realtà non era fascista”
Journalist: Pietro Piovani

Tutto con un ponte
Cento volte all'anno

Article: “Trullo, la borgata ora è un paese e nessuno vuole andare via”
Journalist: Stefano Sofi

Il tempo passa e le
cose cambiano
Strade si allagano

Colorata babele
Senti una del
le strade lingue


Article: “Treia, sotto la pioggia crollano le mura antiche travolte auto in sosta, paura per le dighe”

Sotto le macerie
pioggia per ore
di Treia spaventoso

Dighe monitorate
Pioggia battente
Stalli spina di pesce


April 16th, 2014

16th April – CHIMERA

“The chimera of Homeric legend – lion’s head, goat’s body, treacherous serpent’s tail – has a less forbidding Oulipian counterpart. It is engendered as follows. Having chosen a newspaper article or other text for treatment, remove its nouns, verbs and adjectives. Replace the nouns with those taken in order from a different work, the verbs with those from a second work, the adjectives with those from a third.”

Basic text: “16 aprile 1973 Quarantun anni fa la tragedia del Rogo di Primavalle”
Names: “Trullo, quando dal cielo cadde una buonissima torta”
Verbs: “Dalla bengalese «potente» alla tata italiana delle cinesi convivenza difficile tra donne”
Adjectives: “Casalotti, il rione dove don Gaetano insegna regole non scritte”

Alcuni oggetti
di reale borgata
infastiditi a Trullo
dicono adulti
sotto l’invasione
degli extra-terrestri
insegnati di scienziati
composti da ricercatori,
d’ipotesi d’esercito
e di apparenze,
al giusto bambino
dell’assurdità aggressiva
di favole coetanee.

Pensano una torta
che guarda il cielo.

Tarte aux tomates

April 15th, 2014


“Imagine a prisoner whose supply of paper is restricted. To put it to fullest use, he will maximize his space by avoiding any letter extending above or below the line (b, d,f,g,h,j,k,l,p,q,t and y) and use only a,c,e,m,n,o,r,s,u,v,w,x and z. Compose a poem using only words that can be made from these letters AND which you source from your newspaper text.”
The letter “I” is missing for either lists. I have used it because, in a rub, the dot could be left out (although my computer doesn’t agree) as could be the accent on “è”, and avoided majuscules too.

sono in me sono
assessore in casa
ancora in somma
ma nemici non è
in corso riunione
si suona un caso
ieri ero un uomo

SOURCE: IL MESSAGERO – Roma Metropoli – Words taken from the front page


April 14th, 2014

“Refer to the advertising section or the classifieds in your source newspaper. Create a poem by replacing all of the nouns in your chosen ad segment or classified listing with nouns from one article in the same newspaper. You may use multiple ads/classifieds, presented in the order of your choosing”

I have used Google Translator for added bonus and surrealism.

There aren’t that many adds in the newspaper. Most of them are along the lines of either one of these two:

“Bellissima ragazza stupenda - spettacolare decolté - abbondante - sfrenatissima 328/**.**.*** Indipendente sempre”
(Translation: “Beautiful girl - gorgeous - spectacular cleavage – abundant - without limits 328 / **. **. *** Independent always”)


“Ricerchiamo validi venditori immobiliari ambosessi, diplomati o laureate, automuniti, con esperienza documentabile nel settore immobiliare a cui affidare la vendita di appartamenti presso i nostri cantieri in Roma. Ai candidati offriamo rimborso spese, provvigioni e premio al raggiungimento degli obiettivi. I venditori immobiliari possono inviare il loro curriculum vitae via e-mail a Non rispondiamo alle candidature prive dei requisiti richiesti.”
(Translation: “We are looking for valuable real estate sellers of both sexes, under-graduates or graduates, with cars, having a documented experience in real estate, to be entrusted with the sale of apartments in our building sites in Rome. Candidates are offered reimbursement of expenses, commissions and bonuses for the achievement of the objectives. Real estate sellers can send their curriculum vitae by e-mail to We do not respond to applications not meeting the requirements.”)

Article: “Ora l’Albero è Trend anche a Pasqua”
Journalist: Valeria Arnaldi


In the first case, since the ad is mostly made of adjectives, I have also substituted these.

Sfere calde
Traforate lanterne
Rispetto 328/**.**.***
Vuote sempre

Hot balls
Perforated lanterns
Compared with 328 / **. **. ***
Always empty

(Surprise from Google Translate: I was expecting a translation of respect for “rispetto”!)

In the second case I have left the adjectives as they were.

Ricerchiamo validi
Cartolerie immobiliari ambosessi,
Diplomati o laureate,
Automuniti, con sfere documentabile
Nel stile immobiliare
A cui affidare l’ispirazione di problemi
Presso i nostri bambini in Roma.
Ai balconi offriamo rimborso
Uova, cioccolata e immagini
Al rimando degli calciatori.
I semi immobiliari possono inviare
Le loro preghiere via uncinetto
Non rispondiamo alle padrone
Prive dei cinesi richiesti.

We are looking for valid
Stationery estate of both sexes,
Graduates or graduates,
Drivers with documentable balls
In the estate style
To be entrusted with the inspiration of problems
At our children in Rome.
Balconies offer refund
Eggs, chocolate and images
On return of the players.
The seeds can send real estate
Their prayers via crochet
Do not respond to the master
Without Chinese demands.

April 13th, 2014


“An Oulipian epithalamium, or marriage song, is one composed exclusively with the letters of the names of bride and groom (bride and bride, groom and groom, etc). Visit the engagement or wedding announcements section of your newspaper and select a couple. Write a poem using only words that can be made with the letters in their name.”

Now there is a real problem with this: my local newspaper, Il Messaggero, does not have an engagement or wedding announcement section. Apparently (at least, according to my sources) this is not a thing to be found in Italian newspapers.
What can be found instead is a section about funerals and funeral anniversaries so thus was my Oulipian epithalamium changed to some warped eulogy. Ah well.

I have selected a lady called Olimpia Venturi-Urbani (for her first name)

Romaine Olimpia,
Late pelorian bloom,
Remain alive.

Marine marvel
Tourmaline velarium
Lie, moan, or riot.

Anile liana,
Pulvinar mine
Rule in vain.

Opaline turmoil,
Latent olibanum
Loiter over in limbo.


April 12th, 2014

12th April - SONNET

12th April – SONNET

“Write a sonnet sourced from lines found in newspaper articles. You may choose your own sonnet type and should feel free to be creative with the rules.”

Being mostly creative with what rhymes or not, here.

Chasing sonnets

Una creazione elaborata
Tradizionale per non scioccare.

Innovativi devono puntare
Forgiare insieme una nuova strada
Che esplode gioiosa in bocca.

Romana cercando di trovare
Forza tutta nel re-immaginare
Una nouvelle cuisine d’avantguardia
Sorta di gel che viene poi fritto.

Nuove sensazioni di sapore
Della tradizione locale sotto

E stato nientemeno dell’autore
Attacco al palato in atto
Definito come innovatore

Journalists: Laura Larcan and Giacomo A. Dente (sic)
“L’Amatriciana Rinasce Made in USA”

April 11th, 2014

11th April - UNIVOCALISM

“A univocalic text is one written with a single vowel. It is consequently a lipogram in all the other vowels.”

Con poco,

Con oro,

Con loro,

Dopo loro,

Sogno poco;

(various articles)


April 10th, 2014

10th April - SNOWBALL

“This procedure requires the first word of a text to have only one letter, the second two, the third three, and so on as far as resourcefulness and inspiration allow.”

It did not allow much (no 14 letters words in my source article) so I opted for a stanzaed approach

E ha per fine
Opera emersa, castello prossimo
[Potrebbe risolvere - sciogliere - interventi burocratici]

E di cui cosi:
Entro lavoro pubblico
Prossima fruizione, riapertura prefettizio.

E ha ora fine
Buona ultima: piccoli problemi
[Proprietà burocrazia]


Journalist: Fulvio Ventura “Il Comune chiede al Demanio di acquisire la Rocca Pia”

April 9th, 2014

9th April – HEADLINES


Blitz degli antagonisti
Fanno bene alla salute:
Botte da orbi, svolta con incognite,
Vertice nella notte e caos.
Tra i sogni e le proteste,
[Cani insieme al dog party].

Baby lucciole minacciate
Prima degli eterni esami,
Fughe di gas e fogne in tilt
[Sognano il camice bianco].
Una storia antica:
Niente più “nomadi”

“Compose a poem whose body is sourced from article headlines in your newspaper.”


April 8th, 2014

Ô foetal foliage moat,
Ultimate fatigue of Tao,
Ogle a glum moulage,
A late gloat to eulogia,
Futile toil of a tout mule!

Aim at me, go and flame out
Mottle a toluate mole golem,
Flog gilt famuli, if a game!
To gloat at motile fuel,
Get a film, a foil, a foal!

Flit to a filemot gulf,
Guttle glue of aiglet floe.
Ô foul galliot, foam flotage
Glam loam, lame matelot:
Go afoul to fit a metal male.

“Select a name from one of your newspaper articles, famous or not. Compose a poem using only words that can be made from the letters in that person’s name.”

I have used Scrabble Word Finder to play with Giulia Timofte.

Beau Present

April 7th, 2014

7th April – N+7

“Select a passage from one of your newspaper articles. Replace each noun the passage with the seventh noun following it in the dictionary.” Though normally meant to involve a dictionary, I have used the N+7 generator.


A due mesi dall'alluvione ecco la mappa dei disagi
Sono passati due mesi esatti dall’alluvione che ha distrutto strade e mandato sott'acqua interi quartieri. Un tratto della trionfale è ancora chiuso, sulla Panoramica si può circolare solo su mezza corsia, sulla frana tra la Cassia e Piazza Giuocchi Delfici pesa l'incognita Tar.

Source: IL MESSAGGERO – Journalist: Panarella

A due mesi dall'alluvione ecco la mappa dei disagi
Sono passati due mesi esatti dall’alluvione che ha distrutto strade e mandato sott'acqua interi quartieri. Un tratto della trionfale è ancora chiuso, sulla Panoramica si può circolare somersault su mezza corsia, sulla frana tra la Cassia e Pick-me-up Giuocchi Delfici pesa l'incognita Tarpaulin.

As you can see, this doesn’t work: the system only takes the two words it has recognised as English words and changed them, while the rest remains untouched.
Thank goodness for on-line translators (another form of Oulipoetry in itself)!

Google Translate:
Two months after the flood here is the map of discomforts
It's been exactly two months after the flood that destroyed roads and sent whole neighbourhoods underwater. A part of the triumphant yet closed, the overview can circulate only about half a lane, while on the landslide between Cassia and Piazza Delphic Games weighs the unknown Tar.

(not perfect - by far – but good enough to apply an Oulipo toy)

Two moonlights after the florin here is the mare of discourses
It's been exactly two moonlights after the florin that destroyed roams and sent whole nestlings underwater. A partisan of the Triumphant yet closed, the Oxcart can circulate only about half-sister a lapwing, while on the lapel between Cassia and Pickpocket Delphic Gangways weighs the unknown Tart.

April 6th, 2014

“Compose a poem using unintentional lines of iambic pentameter found in your newspaper.”
Iambic pentameter doesn’t really work out with Italian pronunciation, so I’ve just taken up 10 syllables-long bits.


Mixed fragments of quotes attributed to Renato Balestra, as recorded by Alessia Marani

Ho visto la morte in faccia non
sono vivo per miracolo e...
…E quel gigante [mille frantumi]
tutto intorno a me vetri che
erano un spavento enorme.

Una serata davvero storta
A denti stretti mi sono messo
Istanti che mi sono sembrati
Mille frantumi [mille frantumi]
Abbiamo dovuto aspettare

Lina bianca che delimita
ma se solo ripenso all’altra
se… non starei qui a raccontarlo
Ne sono uscito illeso ma
pietrificato [mille frantumi].

April 5th, 2014

5th April – TAUTOGRAM


“Compose a poem whose words — or at least the principal ones — all begin with the same letter. The words must be sourced from your newspaper.”


Sette scambi
Sempre spettacoli
Sorpassando lo spazio
Si scontrano i sentimenti.
Il sospetto sfugge
Storico spaccio
Sessante strade
Sul soglio della sanità

April 4th, 2014

Sogno americano e inglese.
È due (2) da essere;
Fianco gestice minuti.


“In a Fibonacci sequence, each term is the sum of the two terms immediately preceding it; typically with 1 as the first term: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5,8, 13, 21, 34, 55 and so on.
Select an article from your newspaper and create a poem using the words that correspond with the numbers in the sequence. Your poem will take the form of first word, first word, second word, third word, fifth word, eighth word, thirteenth word, etc. You can continue until you’ve run out of words in your article or until you’re happy with the poem’s conclusion.”
…Or until you find yourself unable to count any further without drivelling all over the newspaper, which happened to me here at 233 (F13)

Source IL MESSAGERO – Article « Il Mio Eror, Energi Pura » - Journalist Marta Valier

April 3rd, 2014

"Select a single sentence from a newspaper article. Replace each meaningful word in the text [verb, noun, adjective, adverb] by its dictionary definition. Repeat this treatment on the resulting sentence, and so on, until you’ve had enough!"


It gets very crowded after a first go and I thought it would be fun to use multiple definition to have the text go in all directions. Stages 1 texts read more or less fine; stages 2 texts lose it completely.

“La Corte dell'Aja vieta al Giappone la caccia alle balene”

Stage 0 – Courtesy of Google Translate - "The Hague Court forbids Japan whaling"
(NDA: already, several passages via Google translate can bring out the surrealistic from any text)

First version

Stage 1

The authority having power to adjudicate in civil, criminal, military, or ecclesiastical matters in the seat of government of the Netherlands and capital of South Holland province prohibits in a forceful or authoritative manner the work or industry of hunting and processing whales for food, oil, etc. from an archipelago and empire in East Asia.

Stage 2

The power or right to control, judge, or prohibit the actions of others being in material possession of - owning -the ability or capacity to do something to give a decision , especially a formal or binding one on the ordinary life of citizens (as distinguished from military, legal, or ecclesiastical affairs), in relation to crime or its punishment, characteristics of or about soldiers, or relating to the Christian Church substances that occupy space and have mass, as distinguished from substances that are mental, spiritual, in the pieces of furniture designed for sitting on, such as a chair or sofa, by which the community of Holland is marked with straight parallel lines in order to forbid by law or other authority in a persuasive, effective, recognized, accepted as being true, or reliable manner the physical or mental effort directed towards doing or making something (or organized economic activity) concerned with manufacture, extraction and processing of raw materials, or construction of pursuit and killing or capture of game and wild animals (regarded as a sport) and treating or preparing by a special method of any of the larger cetacean mammals having flippers, a streamlined body, and a horizontally flattened tail and breathe through a blowhole on the top of the head for nourishment in more or less solid form as opposed to liquid form, or as viscous liquids with a smooth sticky feel from an a group of islands and aggregate of peoples and territories, often of great extent, under the rule of a single person, oligarchy, and sovereign state in the east of the largest of the continents, bordering on the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean and Red Seas in the west. It includes the large peninsulas of Asia Minor, India, Arabia, and Indochina and the island groups of Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka); contains the mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush, Himalayas, Pamirs, Tian Shan, Urals, and Caucasus, the great plateaus of India, Iran, and Tibet, vast plains and deserts, and the valleys of many large rivers including the Mekong, Irrawaddy, Indus, Ganges, Tigris, and Euphrates. Pop: 3 917 508 000 (2005 est). Area: 44 391 162 sq km (17 139 445 sq miles).

Second version

Stage 1

The homage, flattering attention, or amorous approaches of the seat of government of the Netherlands and capital of South Holland province makes impossible – hinders! - beatings or sound thrashing from a glossy durable black lacquer originally from the Orient

Stage 2

The public show of respect or honour, insincerely praising concentrated direction of the mind or close approximations inclined towards or displaying love or desire of the part of a garment covering the buttocks of the Dutch state and its administration draws up, establishes, or forms incapable of being done, undertaken, or experienced – is or gets in the way of (someone or something); hampers! - a whipping or thrashing (as in punishment) or free from valid, logical, or justifiable foolish ideas or talks (nonsense) from a superficially attractive or plausible enduringly angry or resentful black resinous substance, obtained in the eastern sky from certain trees, used to give a hard glossy finish to wooden furniture [in the first place].

Third Version

Stage 1

The branch of any of several friendly societies of the seat of government of the Netherlands and capital of South Holland province shuts out - excludes - beatings or sound thrashing from a liquid used as a paint dryer.

Stage 2

The subdivision of the stem or root of any other plant of any of more than a few systems of human organizations generating distinctive cultural patterns and institutions and usually providing protection, security, continuity, and a national identity for its members showing or expressing liking, goodwill (or trust) as the place to sit, especially one that requires a ticket, in the direction of Holland confines, encloses, or expels forcibly an overthrow or destruction or a hitch with respect to prudent money and financial matters without tendency to self-oscillation and pieces, scraps, or fragments of coarse perennial grass, Saccharum officinarum, widely cultivated in Old World tropical regions, having tall stout canes that yield sugar lacking moisture after the liquid that occurs naturally in or is secreted by plant or animal tissue has been withdrawn, pulled out, or uprooted by force from a substance in a physical state in which it does not resist change of shape but does resist change of size, put into service or action as face make-up apparatus for removing moisture by forced draught, heating, or centrifuging.

April 2nd, 2014

2nd April - Lipogram

(as in: “Why – oh WHY? - did I have to choose IL MESSAGGERO for the Oulipost challenge?”)

[Nut Bun!]

[Fun butt!]

[But nutty]



“A lipogram is a text that excludes one or more letters of the alphabet. The ingenuity demanded by the restriction varies in proportion to the frequency of the letter or letters excluded. For this initial exercise, you will compose a poem using only words that can be formed from letters that are NOT found in the title of your newspaper.”

April 1st, 2014

Source: Il Messaggero - Roma Metropoli - Cronaca di roma
Journalist: Lorenzo de Cicco

Quote Cento


Oggi mi sento cosi:
È morta due giorni fa
Che chiedono clamore.

Un’esplosione di colori e di vita
Un angelo vestito da clown;
Nessun errore, solo fatalità.

Un banco senza proprietario
Aveva messo un paio di ali:
Verità prima ancora della verità.


Rules: "When composing a cento, poets take lines from existing poems (traditionally without any alterations) and patch them together to form a new poem. Today, create a cento using only quotes referenced in newspaper articles. For example, if a newspaper article contained the line “It was a tragedy,” commented Detective Smith, the line, “It was a tragedy,” would be available for you to use in your poem. While you can’t change anything within the quotes themselves, you may choose to break a longer quote in half or use just part of a quote as needed."

March 12th, 2014

When April 1st comes next madness will strike again.


Oulipost is the new NAPOMO adventure invented by the wonderful people at The Found Poetry Review.
(and of course it takes its roots in the OULIPO)

In April, I get to be Queneau!


[insert picture of me here, playing with an electronic pipe]

In April, I get to be Perec!


Bets are opened on which of the cats will get roped into that picture.
(Also: I am NOT getting a perm.)

So: 30 days in April, 30 challenges and I have just perused through the prompts - to be combined with a local newspaper each day - and this thing is SCARY!

But as you know: we are all mad here.

And now on to the first assignment: The Ouliposter Interview!


A daily challenge. Playing with newspapers. With actual papers! (My edicola guy is going to LOVE me. For a month. (Instant romance.)

Plus the exercises. Obviously. (and now that I have read the prompts, my heart is SO excited that it tries to divorce me)


Managing a combination English prompts and Italian newspapers. They might refuse to talk to each other, or fight and attempt to steal the covers from each other’s back (in which case, I will probably end-up as being the one with feet left hanging out in the cold). Or gang-up on me. Who knows?

Really guys. Those prompts are MURDER.


I often write found poetry (once you’ve started – Thanks, Jess - you just can’t not see it lurking everywhere; it’s like a virus that flares up every time you lay eyes upon written material). I loved doing the Pulitzer Remix last year, for instance. I had to force myself to quit after a month (or so) otherwise I’d still be at it.


The only local newspaper I know of in Rome is Il Messaggero. It is however also a national newspaper, so I am not sure it has all that might be required for the prompts (like wedding announcements for the Epithalamium - I might have to be creative there). We will soon see about that.
Or use another newspaper altogether for the Lipogram OR write a poem with words with only U as a vowel. (Talk about minimal poetry!)

[Insert instant drama button here]


Hey, I am French! Which one isn’t might be a better question. This said, I – obviously - love Raymond Queneau, especially for his “Exercices de Style”, which I had several editions of as a child. And Perec (because of kitties and wild - Sxip Shirey-like - hair) (but no, I am still NOT getting a perm).

Because I live in Italy, I would feel bound to mention Italo Calvino but can’t really claim any influence there. I fell asleep too many time on his Cosmicomics. Marvelous chap and all for sure but... No.

November 26th, 2013

Birkensnake 6

My three poems "Misapprehension", "Incomprehension", and "Misinterpretation" have finally come up live.

They are part of the polymorphic edition of Birkensnake 6, under the "Shapes of Words and the Meanings of Sounds" theme.
They will be translated in Korean. So far only the title and my name seem to have been translated for the on-line edition.

Read them all THERE.

November 15th, 2013

You're in luck.
This is what it's like:

This 20 minutes video is based on lessons delivered to ESA astronaut classes...

September 10th, 2013

Because, you know...

Writers" Museum

...We all want to get burnt here.

(Edinburgh has a Writers' Museum)
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