Oulipost #27: Irrational Sonnet

Today’s challenge: “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.”

Knowing that I had relatively little time to meet this challenge today, I decided to see if I could create a sonnet using only the headlines from 04/27/14 edition of The New York Times.  Given the size of the Sunday paper, I had many headlines to choose from and began my work by writing down any that caught my attention, occasionally writing only a selected phrase, but usually the entire headline.  When I reviewed what I had written and broke the headlines into syllables, I had 15 that were 10 syllables in length, which is as close to iambic pentameter as I could get today.  Without further ado:

Irrational Headlines: A Raw Nerve

Conversation began and never stopped.
Ice climbing in a glacial paradise,
but her friends may have been more dangerous.

Architect of witty designs is dead.

Scots ponder, should they stay or should they go?
From outside or inside, the deck looks stacked.
Negatives seem to outweigh positives.
Time of soul-searching, not cynicism.

An audience stands up for a stand-in.

Unrelenting will toward victory.
The search for our inner lie detectors.
A portrait and the history it holds
giving voice to troubled relationships.
Returning to an “impossible” role.


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