Kent  Pitman's


In Quest

I wrote this poem for a class at Writing University, an online MOOC at the University of Iowa, in the summer of 2014. The assignment was to use words formed from the letters of the word “ventriloquist.” I believe this was intended both to keep us from grabbing words we’re too used to using, and also to increase the probability of coincidentally aligned sounds.

In Quest (a hunt for love in a modern jungle)
by Kent Pitman, inspired by a scene at a bar

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Tunes, tenors over ivories, not violins.
There is music, but it is commerical, not orchestral.
I squint, test vittles, tilt trivets, listen in.
I'm by myself, bored with food, stacking up coasters, watching and listening to others.
Vet’s iris roves over lovers, loners,
A veteran sits at a table, watching others, too.
Stoner lost in stout to quiet stouter tuition,
A student drinks beer, perhaps to forget his large tuition loan.
Run liquor over olive, stir:
Some people have mixed drinks.
Senior is silent, envious,
A senior watches the younger ones hitting on each other, envious of that.
Vinous souvenir invites tourist,
A tourist probably just came here for the collectible glass.
Oiliest investor utters lies, tries lures,
A rich, icky guy is making up stuff, whatever works to get someone into bed.
Lustier nurse inures to virulent ironies.
A nurse has heard it all, is getting numb to it.
Ivies’ elitist novelist trots out routine ruse line on visitor.
An ivy league novelist has tired lines he keeps trying on people who are just passing through.
Torn, tiniest violet’s virtue loiters,
A woman, we’ll call her Violet, is tempted by one of the lines.
Loins revolt, rev to entrust ursine suitor in lust—
Overtaken by the moment, perhaps, Violet’s about to give in to one of the petitioners for her virtue.
Rustle to rut, to sin, in turnstile toilet rite.
There's a nearby bathroom with stalls that do a brisk business for people who can't wait to get a room.
Rivulets squirt, toes quiver.
They do the deed.
Vision true, site sore, rinse, rest.
The cold light of reality returns. Soreness lingers. They get cleaned up.
Question outlives quest:
The elephant in the room:
Revisit or revulsion?
Was it true love or momentary insanity?

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How This Was Written

In writing this, I wrote a computer program to find the words I had to work with. Click here to see the full list of words. Click here to hide the full list of words.

1 Letter
2 Letters
el, en, es, et, ii, in, is, it, iv, lo, ls, no, nu, on, or, qr, qt, re, rs, rt, so, sq, st, ti, tn, to, tr, ts, us, vi, vs
3 Letters
els, ens, eon, est, ins, int, ion, ire, isl, its, lei, let, lie, liq, lit, lot, net, nil, nit, nor, nos, not, nus, nut, oil, one, ons, ore, ors, our, out, quo, rel, res, rev, riv, roe, rot, rte, rue, run, rut, sen, seq, set, sin, sir, sit, sol, son, sot, sou, sue, sun, tel, ten, tie, tin, tis, tit, toe, ton, tor, tot, tun, tut, ult, urn, use, vet, vie, vii, vis, voe, vol
4 Letters
eons, eris, erst, evil, inst, inti, into, ions, ires, iris, iron, isle, leis, lens, lent, lest, lets, lien, lier, lies, lieu, line, lino, lint, lion, lire, list, lite, lits, live, loin, lone, lore, lorn, lose, lost, lots, lour, lout, love, lune, lure, lust, lute, nest, nets, nett, neut, nevi, nils, nits, noel, noes, nose, note, nous, nuts, oils, oles, oner, ones, onus, ores, ours, oust, outs, oven, over, quit, quot, rein, reno, rent, rest, revs, rile, riot, rise, rite, rive, roes, roil, role, rose, rote, rots, rout, rove, rues, ruin, rule, rune, runs, runt, ruse, rust, ruts, sent, sett, silo, silt, sine, sire, site, situ, slit, sloe, slot, slue, slur, slut, snit, snot, soil, sole, sore, sort, soul, sour, sqrt, stet, stir, stun, suer, suet, suit, sure, tels, tens, tent, tern, test, tier, ties, tile, tilt, tine, tins, tint, tire, tits, toes, toil, tole, tone, tons, tore, tori, torn, tors, tort, tote, tots, tour, tout, trio, trot, true, tune, tuns, turn, tuts, unit, univ, unto, urns, user, veil, vein, vent, vest, veto, vets, vier, vies, vile, vine, vino, viol, vise, voes, vole, vols, volt, vote
5 Letters
equiv, evils, inert, inlet, inset, instr, inter, intro, inure, irons, islet, ivies, lento, liens, lieus, lieut, liner, lines, lints, lions, liter, lites, liven, liver, lives, loins, loner, lores, loris, loser, lotus, lours, louse, louts, lover, loves, lures, lutes, netts, nevus, nisei, niter, noels, noise, noter, notes, novel, nurse, oiler, olive, onset, oriel, osier, otter, outer, ovens, overs, overt, ovule, quern, quest, quiet, quilt, quint, quire, quirt, quite, quits, quoin, quoit, quote, reins, rents, resin, resit, riles, rinse, riots, risen, rites, riven, rives, rivet, roils, roles, rosin, rotes, rouse, roust, route, routs, roves, ruins, rules, runes, runts, senor, servo, siren, slier, snore, snort, snout, soler, solve, stein, steno, stern, stile, stilt, stint, stole, stone, store, stout, stove, strut, stunt, suite, tenor, tents, terns, tiers, tiler, tiles, tilts, tines, tints, tires, titer, title, toils, toles, toner, tones, toque, tores, torte, torts, torus, toter, totes, tours, touts, tries, trios, trite, trots, trout, trove, trues, trust, tuner, tunes, turns, tutor, unite, units, unlit, unset, untie, until, urine, uteri, utile, utter, veils, veins, velor, vents, verso, viler, vines, vinos, viols, vireo, virus, visit, visor, vitro, voile, voles, volts, voter, votes
6 Letters
enlist, inerts, inlets, inlier, insert, insole, insult, insure, inters, intros, intuit, inures, invert, invest, invite, lentos, lesion, liners, linter, liquor, listen, lister, liters, litter, livens, livers, livest, loiter, loners, lotter, louver, lovers, luster, niters, nosier, novels, oilers, oilier, oliver, olives, oriels, orient, otters, ouster, outers, outlet, outset, ovules, quiets, quilts, quints, quires, quirts, quites, quiver, quoins, quoits, quoter, quotes, result, revolt, rivets, rotten, routes, runlet, rustle, senior, sequin, silent, silver, sinter, sitter, sliver, sloven, snivel, solute, solver, sortie, soviet, squint, squire, squirt, stolen, stoner, stover, strive, strove, suitor, sunlit, sutler, tenors, tensor, tilers, tilter, tinier, tinsel, tinter, titers, titler, titles, toiler, toilet, toners, tonier, tonsil, toques, torque, torten, tortes, tousle, touter, trites, triton, triune, trivet, trouts, troves, truest, tuners, turtle, tutors, ulster, uniter, unites, unrest, unties, unveil, urines, ursine, utters, velors, venous, vilest, vinous, violet, violin, vireos, virile, virtue, vision, voiles, volute, voters
7 Letters
elision, elitist, elution, entrust, envious, inquest, inquire, introit, intuits, inutile, inverts, inviter, invites, ironies, ivories, lintier, linties, liquors, litotes, litters, loiters, lousier, louvers, lustier, nervous, nitrite, nitrous, noisier, nostril, nuttier, oiliest, onliest, orients, outlets, outline, outlive, quilter, quintet, quitter, quivers, quonset, revisit, revolts, rivulet, rottens, routine, runlets, siltier, sirloin, slitter, solvent, stinter, stonier, stouten, stouter, striven, tilters, tiniest, toilers, toilets, toniest, tonsure, torques, tourist, trivets, tuition, turtles, unities, unitive, untiles, unveils, utensil, venturi, version, violent, violets, violins, violist, virtues, visitor, vitrine, vitriol, vittles, volutes
8 Letters
inquires, insulter, introits, investor, involute, lintiest, lutenist, neuritis, nitrites, novelist, outliers, outlines, outlives, question, quilters, quintets, quintile, quitters, quotient, revision, rivulets, routines, runtiest, sluttier, snottier, souvenir, squinter, tuitions, venturis, virulent, vitreous, vitrines, vitriols
9 Letters
intrusive, nutritive, quintiles, quotients, revulsion, turnstile

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Combing through the complete list of available words, I arranged a number of them into what seemed like useful categories from which to build my story: Click here to see my categorized groups. Click here to hide my categorized groups.

Small Words
I, is, it, lo, nil, no, not, or, quo, so, us
tens, ones
in, into, on, out, outer, over, to, until
nurse, novelist, investor, tilers, tourist, visitor, quilter, stoner, suitor
rust, rose, silver, violets, tints
elitist, evils, inert, intrusive, lintiest, lousier, lustier, nervous, nosier, oiliest, onliest, risen, silent, sluttier, snottier, stonier, tiniest, vile, virulent
inlets, inquest, ironies, leis, lines, lites, lose, louvers, luster, ouster, outlets, question, quotient, rivulets, ruins, rules, ruse, sin, sliver, solvent, souvenir, squinter, squirt, suit, tensor, tilters, toilets, trivets, tuitions, turnstile, veils, veins, virtues, virus, volts, volts BODY - iris, loin, nose, nostril, nuts, tits, toe
envious, ire, love, lust, revulsion, vitriols
revision, routines, torques, version
noise, quiet
liquor, livers, nutritive, olive, oven, sirloin, stir, stout, trout, utensil, vines, vinos, vinous, vittles
lion, turtle
entrust, inquire, insult, inverts, invites, lets, lies, lives, loiters, loves, lures, nits, notes, oils, oust, outlives, quits, quivers, revolts, revs, roils, roves, runs, ruts, sit, solve, squirt, striven, toils, touts, trots, turns, unties, unveils, use, vents, votes
ivories, lute, quintets, tenors, tunes, violins, viols

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Other Notes

Although written in 2014, this wasn't published to the world until 2016.

No similarity to any actual person or place is intended. This was just a fun flight of the imagination.

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Copyright © 2016 by Kent M. Pitman. All Rights Reserved.