17 Paste-Ups


These texts were generated from sentences found through the Google search engine.   I call them "paste-ups" for the obvious reason that making each text was mainly a matter of copying and then pasting selected sentences.  The method was quite simple.  A target phrase was chosen, such as "Slowly he," and the text was woven of the list of sentences found that contained that phrase.  I gave myself the license of a light editorial hand in deciding to omit sentences, or in punctuating sentences or changing verb tense.  In general the order of sentences in each poem follows the order in which they were called up by Google.


This method is not really a constraint in the sense that Oulipo would propose.  Nonetheless it was reading into Harry Matthews' Oulipo Compendium that led me to the idea of the paste-up.


A more Oulipian procedure would be taking the texts generated by the paste-up method and then "interlarding" them.  For example, between each sentence of the text "Slowly He Crept" one would have to write three sentences, which may harmonize the sentences beginning "Slowly..." or may otherwise push them toward some goal.  As regards the initial work, the difficulty of developing a good paste-up is in thinking up the most fruitful possible target phrase to search.


In preparing these paste-ups I discovered  I realized that in some respects I'd been scooped.  But my paste-ups are not quite the same as "googlisms".


Eric Mader-Lin,


April, 2003







Slowly He Crept

Things She Took

What Plato Would Have Done

Where She Led Me

What He Would Have None Of

That Strange Inverted Logic that is their Hallmark

What She Undid

What Jesus Taught

What Mohammed Taught

What Joyce Believed

What Flannery O'Connor Believed

What Conspiracy Theorists Say

What the United States Consumes

I Love It When She Does That

What Jesus Wouldn't Do

Slowly She Awakened

What Beckett Thought








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