Sunday, April 5, 2009


Inclusion refers to one or more texts being contained within another. (Several different Oulipian methods can be classified under the heading of inclusion.) The poem below was composed using a procedure invented by poet Paul Braffort, whereby the blanks in the poem can be filled by either one of two specific letters, producing a coherent text in each case. In this example, the reader fills the blanks with either ‘m’ or ‘d.’

Circle 8 1/2

A certain drea_ came back to me
As I was walking through the _oor;
A _eal I’d finished once at dawn;
The desolate ri_e the day before.

That night, greeting the sinister _en,
I _ulled, with gin, my looming choice:
To tell the agents it was hi_,
And show the constancy of _ice—
Or to refuse, and in my pri_e,
Give cover to my treasonous _ate.

As evening spreads its silent _ark,
I _ock my years with the poppy’s taste--
And spy the co_ing of the guilt
That whispers to me every _ay.