Friday Writing Exercise: lipogram fun 0 Comments

Friday Writing Exercise: lipogram fun

Today’s FWE comes from the Oulipo writing tradition. It’s all about writing within constraints and coming up with something quite difficult or odd sounding rather than taking the easy way out. A lipogram consists of writing a paragraph in which a particular letter is avoided (i.e. writing without using the letter ‘e’). This can be super challenging in itself, but we’re going to take it a step further and follow what Christian Bök did and restrict ourselves to writing with only one vowel. Here’s a little excerpt from his work ‘Eunoia’:


for Hans Arp

Awkward grammar appals a craftsman. A Dada bard as daft as Tzara damns stagnant art and scrawls an alpha (a slapdash arc and a backward zag) that mars all stanzas and jams all ballads (what a scandal). A madcap vandal crafts a small black ankh – a hand-stamp that can stamp a wax pad and at last plant a mark that sparks an ars magna (an abstract art that charts a phrasal anagram).’

You can read more here!

There are many alternative ways to play with lipograms. A friend of mine wrote ensuring that the letter ‘r’ was in every word. In any case, have a play and see how you go! I’d love to read some of what you come up with.



Cathy Tran (21) joined Voiceworks in 2009 as a sweet and shy little being. The committee took a tough-love stance towards her, forcing her to create an alter-ego named ‘Sassy Tran’ (alternatively, @crazytran on Twitter). She went to the National Young Writers’ Festival a couple of times to help run workshops and enjoy the sea bath. She’s also travelled to Tasmania to be part of a panel about getting into publishing, an initiative run by the Twitch. She is currently studying creative writing and linguistics at Melbourne Uni, which, most of the time, involves staring at children and wondering how they tick.


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