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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lipogram Poems

Today's Word for the Day is LIPOGRAM:\LIP-uh-gram, LAHY-puh-\, noun:
a written work composed of words chosen so as to avoid the use of one or more specific alphabetic characters.

I went off to Wikipedia to find some examples, and was immediately reminded of this contemporary poetry best seller -

  • In Christian Bök's novel (?) Eunoia (2001), each chapter is restricted to a single vowel, missing four of the five vowels. For example the fourth chapter does not contain the letters "A", "E", "I" or "U". A typical sentence from this chapter is "Profs from Oxford show frosh who do post-docs how to gloss works of Wordsworth." Lipogrammatic writing which uses only one vowel has been called univocalic.[1]

There is also a wonderful old poem I hadn't read before:

  • Fate of Nassan, an anonymous poem dating from pre-1870, where each stanza is a lipogrammatic pangram (using every letter of the alphabet except "E").[10]
Bold Nassan quits his caravan,
A hazy mountain grot to scan;
Climbs jaggy rocks to find his way,
Doth tax his sight, but far doth stray.

Not work of man, nor sport of child
Finds Nassan on this mazy wild;
Lax grow his joints, limbs toil in vain—
Poor wight! why didst thou quit that plain?

Vainly for succour Nassan calls;
Know, Zillah, that thy Nassan falls;
But prowling wolf and fox may joy
To quarry on thy Arab boy.

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