Friday, September 9th, 2011

Writing Prompt – Lipograms

A lipogram is a form of writing (or word game) which forbids the use of a particular letter or letters. Generally, a lipogram forbids the letter ‘e,’ one of the most common letters in the English language. But many variations have been used.

Entire novels have been written in lipogram. For instance, author Walter Abish wrote Alphabetical Africa, constraining each chapter by alphabet. Chapter 1 uses only words beginning with the letter A. Chapter 2 allows words beginning with A and B, until Chapter 26, which permits all 26 letters of the English alphabet. The second half of the book removes letters in the reverse order in which they were added. Z words disappear in chapter 28, Y words in chapter 29, etc…

Over at the site, Curious Notions, the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence” is re-written several times. Here is just on example:


Sing a song of sixpence
A pocket full of rye.
Four-and-twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.
As the pie was opened
The birds began to sing.
Wasn’t that a dainty dish
To set before the King?

The King was in the counting house
Counting out his money.
The Queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden
Hanging out the clothes.
When along came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.

No Is or Ss:

Croon a kreutzer canzonet,
A pocket full of coal,
Four-and-twenty waterfowl
Baked beneath a roll.
When the roll unfolded, well
They all began to peep —
An elegant entrée that made
The Monarch clap and leap.

The Monarch, under lock and key,
Computed all the money.
The parlor kept the Queen, who ate
Of bread and clover honey.
The flower garden held the wench,
Who hung the wool and lace.
A crow appeared and plucked the olfact’ry
Organ from her face.

Here’s Your Prompt:

Re-write a famous nursery rhyme, poem or saying in the style of a lipogram.

Here are some resources you may need to help you:

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