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This poem is taken from PN Review 252, Volume 46 Number 4, March - April 2020.

50 Chicagos for Paul Fournel Philip Terry
The chicago is a poetic form created by Paul Fournel, President of Oulipo (the Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, or Workhop of Poetential Literature), which bears a family resemblance to the riddle. It consists of a single stanza of five lines: the final line is a homophonic translation of a place name (or of the name of a person, a cheese, etc.); the first four lines are homosyntactic translations, or variants, of the final line, the ‘solution’ to the riddle, which is held in abeyance for the reader to guess. The final line of one of Fournel’s inuagural texts was a deformation of ‘Chicago’ – ‘Chie cagot’ (literally ‘shit sanctimonious hypocrite’) – which led Oulipo to name the form a chicago.

1.
Brassed off K
Fed up L
Sprightly M
Enthusiastic N
……………….

2.
Six win
Seven take a licking
Five draw
Three default
………………………

3.
John Vauxhall
Pete Volvo
Mike BMW
Rich Peugeot
……………….

4.
Fashionable slang
Out of date patois
Cool pidgin
Hip lingo
…………………….

5.
Pout vanished
Smile reappeared
Brooding terminated
...


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