Rereading the Oulipo Compendium tonight. Here are some lines that caught my eye. They’re from Queneau’s 100,000,000,000,000 Poems. The poems of this sequence are sonnets–of a sort. The lines of these sonnets are interchangeable. In other words, line 11 of any sonnet could be exchanged with line 11 of any of the other sonnets in the sequence. Queneau used mathematics to create his own brand of formalism, resulting in some cool and surreal experiments.
It’s no good rich men crying Heaven Bless
Or grinning like a pale-faced golliwog
Poor Yorick comes to bury not address
We’ll suffocate before the epilogue
Poor reader smile before your lips go numb
The best of all things to an end must come