Last month the literary world was shaken as a pair of literary critics published the most audacious book since Georges Perec’s e-less novel A Void. Really. It’s that audacious.
Now you can buy us on Amazon in the US and the UK, as an e-book or as one of those old-fashioned rectangular paper things.
Or you can start by reading an excerpt in The New Inquiry, and then buy a copy.
Need convincing in person? There are some events happening, and we’d love for you to come along:
Tonight! Februrary 19th: my co-author Scott Esposito will be in conversation with the youngest most American Oulipian, Daniel Levin Becker, author of Many Subtle Channels, at City Lights in San Francisco.
March 11th: if you happen to be in Paris, I’ll be appearing at Shakespeare & Company with Joanna Walsh.
Further reading: Scott’s Oulipo-themed 2012: A Year in Reading, for The Millions. Chad Post wrote about us here, and Levi Asher wrote about us too.
Very pleased to announce that my next book, co-authored with Scott Esposito, will be out from Zer0 Books on 25 January 2013. Spread the word!
The Oulipo celebrated its fiftieth birthday in 2010, and as it enters its sixth decade, its members, fans and critics are all wondering: where can it go from here? In two long essays Scott Esposito and Lauren Elkin consider Oulipo’s strengths, weaknesses, and impact on today’s experimental literature.
Invented by Jacques Jouet
A métro poem has as many verses as your trip has stations, minus one.
The first verse is composed in your head between the two first stations of your trip (counting the station from which you departed).
It is transcribed onto paper when the train stops at the second station.
The second verse is composed in your head between the second and third stations of your trip.
It is transcribed onto paper when the train stops at the third station. And so forth.
One must not transcribe when the train is in motion.
One must not compose when the train is stopped.
The last verse of the poem is transcribed on the platform of your last station.
If your trip involves one or more changes of subway lines, the poem will have two or more stanzas.
Hello from the British Library, where I’m reading Harry Mathews’s The Orchard, a series of reminiscences of George Perec after his death in 1982. After reading a few of the entries (“his Afro hair and his goatee gave his face the projective power of a primitive mask,” 1) I got curious enough to image search a picture of Perec. If you’ve never seen one, get ready.
“I remember Georges Perec grinning madly as he danced a furious jerk with Catherine B. in Andy Warhol’s apartment, which Renaud C. had borrowed for a big party. After working up a tremendous sweat, Georges Perec asked to take a shower. He soon reappeared among us with only a towel around his waist. He was irresistible” (6).