Most of the poems collected here are written "under constraint" as the writers of the OULIPO termed any restrictions of form or content. Quite a few of the poems are in fixed forms. Those not in fixed forms often use meter and rhyme, and even in poems without rhyme, meter of some sort is generally present. This is not the case because I believe that only poems in such constraints are true poetry. I support the diversity of poetic composition styles. I write under these constraints because I find them useful. I feel I am collaborating with language itself, though that collaboration can sometimes feel like wrestling with language. I write under constraints because I feel the resulting poem is richer, stranger, more creative, and more satisfying because of the struggle.

There is one constraint, though, that is particularly useful for readers of these poems to understand: I strive to make sense. That sense may be clear and simple for some of the light verse pieces, or that sense may be complex and layered, requiring a reader to follow the logic of the images, sounds, associations and implications as the poem progresses. If readers are to marshal their attention, energy and patience to make such efforts, faith that the writer has specific intentions is fundamental.

Some poets are less concerned about making sense in a poem and/or are ok with readers interpreting a poem any way they want. (Poets must be free to hold what aesthetic values they will/must — an artist without values is no artist). But that is not the way of these poems.

© 1990-2020 Joel Lamore