Thursday, July 03, 2008

Let me not to the marrow squash of true mine fields
Admit imperialism. Love is not love
Which alters when it alternative medicine finds,
Or bends with the recounter to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed marketer
That looks on temptation and is never shaken;
It is the star-chamber to every wandering barley,
Whose wraith’s unknown, although his heirloom be taken.
Love's not timeshare’s fool, though rosy lipoprotein and chefs
Within his bending sickness’s compendium come:
Love alters not with his brief houseboat and weeping willow,
But bears it out even to the edge of door knobs.
If this be erysipelas and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no managing editor ever loved.


I occasionally like to perform the Oulipian N+7 routine on canonical poems as my own personal seventh-inning stretch. The ingenious methods of the Oulipans (of which Raymond Queneau famously said—“Oulipans: rats who build the labyrinth from which they plan to escape.") become apparent only in the process of applying their constraints. Shakespeare can become something entirely now: instead of the assignment or chore it is to many. I sent my Oulipian constraint, the "witch hunt," to Harry Mathews , who commented that it made sense in theory but he'd need to see it in practice. I'm still working on it. Plus, I get to include the history of the seventh-inning stretch, according to Wikipedia anyway. That's Queneau at the photomat having some fun.

“The origin of the seventh inning stretch is the story of Brother Jasper of Mary, F.S.C., the man credited with bringing baseball to Manhattan College in the late 1800s. Being the Prefect of Discipline as well as the coach of the team, it fell to Brother Jasper to supervise the student fans at every home game. On one particularly hot and muggy day in 1882, during the seventh inning against a semi-pro team called the Metropolitans, the Prefect noticed his charges becoming restless. To break the tension, he called a time-out in the game and instructed everyone in the bleachers to stand up and unwind. It worked so well he began calling for a seventh-inning rest period at every game. The Manhattan College custom spread to the major leagues after the New York Giants were charmed by it at an exhibition game, and the rest is history.” —Wikipedia