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This week’s lesson asked you to choose a favorite passage from “Eunoia” and to compare it to an excerpt from a different section. In your own words, describe the tone, theme, texture, and mood of these two passages. How are they different? How are they alike? Do these vowels really have personalities? In what sense? Your language here will be necessarily subjective, so use your own words and have fun with it.
You were also asked to compare a page from “Eunoia” to any other poem from our poetry packets. Think back, for instance, to when we set Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” alongside William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow.” Choose any poem you like and compare it to one of this week’s passages. What are you noticing? Do Bok’s poetic units hang together in the same way? What effect does the sound have? Again, use your own words to describe the “feel” or “taste” of the text.
Choose a vowel: A, E, I, O, or U. You can base your choice on your favorite section, on your own name, or simply on whim. Now craft a univocal lipogram. Aim for a short paragraph, like the ones you’ve just encountered, of about ten lines. There’s no need for end-rhymes, since the univocality of your piece will bring out internal rhymes (that is, similar sounds within and across words), but you’re welcome to adopt any other constraint you like. Perhaps, like Bök, you want to force yourself to keep to certain subject matter; perhaps you also choose to disallow repetition; perhaps you too decide that “y” is forbidden. It’s up to you, so long as you employ only words with your single vowel of choice.
Give us a brief description of your method. What sort of procedure did you follow to produce your lipogram?
Lastly, what’s your take on the questions I raised at the end of the lesson? Why follow self-imposed rules? Can constraints actually be generative? Did you surprise yourself? Can you think of any artists or artforms that have benefited from limitations?