Freedom through Constraint: Oulipo, Erasure, & Flarf as Poetic Prompts for English Learners

In the 1960's a movement known as "Oulipo,"  roughly translated as a "workshop of potential literature," was founded by French poets and mathematicians who sought to generate material by way of imposing constraints upon the method of writing. A similar idea, though not an exact example, would be the use of "mad libs." Likewise, in the early 21st century,  "Flarfists"  sought to create poetics out of the random, often mining source material from Internet search terms. While formal limitations may seem counterintuitive to creativity, such devices can liberate English learners, allowing for whimsy and joy in the writing process. When ELs are not bogged down with "what to write" or "how to write," they engage in the language learning process more fully. During this workshop will participants will learn about the freedom and power of "not making sense" to develop language proficiency.