Thursday, October 29, 2009

On Mt. Oulipos

On Mt. Oulipos Harry Matthews
Is depicted in his statues
Wearing laurels on his bald head,
A collar and a tie.

He's inspecting an expensive vintage,
A marble glimmer in his eye.

His carven slacks and coat are bulging
Over massive shoulder and thigh.

Many a weighty tome is found
On deep and sturdy shelves behind.

Italo Calvino, Surrealistes,
Old Andre Breton, in embossed leather,
Perec, Queneau, men of letters,
Stacked-up wide and high.

At his feet (in marble Ferragamos)
Are chiseled tablets, and they're missing
The letters O and A. Luckily, he could use an E
He was also allowed a U and I.

Graven text reads cryptically.

Harry Matthews, the sole American "Oulipian," was
recently lionized in a NYTIMES.COM "Schott's Vocab" feature.

Ala Georges Perec, who notoriously wrote a novel without
the letter E, Oulipians write their way around certain self-imposed limitations.
How Perec listed his name on the title page is uncertain to me.
Perhaps P*r*c, G*org*s?

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