OuliPoetry Slam!

Sponsored by Trent’s English Department and French Studies Program.


OuliPoetry Slam! is a poetry slam with a twist. You already know what a Poetry Slam is: an open mic, a panel of judges, and a lot of great spoken word poetry. The question is, do you know what Oulipo is?

Oulipo is short for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, or roughly translated, Workshop of Potential Literature. The idea is to write something under a heavy self-imposed constraint in order to force yourself to be more creative than you normally would be. The most famous example of Oulipo is George Perec’s novel, La Disparition, written entirely without the letter ‘e’. (Perhaps equally impressive is the English translation of that novel, A Void, written by Gilbert Adair.)

The OuliPoetry Slam! invites team members to compose poetry under certain Oulipo constraints (see below for the 2020 instructions). Poems will ideally deal in some way with the Theme of the 2020 Fair, but this is not mandatory.

Team Size:

Each team is permitted to submit 10 minutes, or roughly 2000 words, of poetry to be read during the Slam. Teams are invited to divide their 10 minutes as they please: 10 poets each taking 1 minute; 5 poets reading for 2 minutes; etc.

2020 OuliPoetry Instructions:

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