Why not? I love Raymond Queneau (Exercices de style makes me happy every time I open it, or even think about it), and although I haven’t actually read Georges Perec’s Life A User’s Manual, I have it in both French and English and I’m looking forward to tackling it. So let’s add Oulipo to the word burst. If it’s good enough for Caterina, it’s good enough for me. Besides, isn’t it fun to say? Oulipo!

Addendum. Kip has joined the Oulipo word-burst pump-primers and has linked to several more sites, including Matt Madden’s wonderful comic-strip avatar of Exercices de style; from this template come all manner of good things.


  1. Thanks for jumping on the Band Wagon. We probably should be intercapping it OuLiPo, but why should we be as pedantic as, well, as pedantic as we have been in the past? Hmn?

    Exercices de style is always the #1 recommendation that I get at Amazon. Your mention has prompted me to actually pick it up.

    What do you think of Harry Mathews?

  2. Haven’t read him!

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed “Oulipo” being intercapped as “OuLiPo,” but it looks cool. Like “NaNoWriMo”

    Also, sometimes I find my brain reparsing it as “Ou Li Bai.” Then I think to myself, “Where’s Li Bai?”

  4. Nicholas: Now, that’s Languagehat humor! For those following along at home, Li Po (mid-8th century) was one of China’s greatest poets; “Po” is the traditional (Wade-Giles) spelling of his given name, representing a pronunciation closer to “Bo,” which is how it’s spelled in pinyin. However (as I discovered when I taught college in Taiwan), the normal pronunciation of his name is “Bai” (like the character for ‘white,’ with which his name is written, from Old Chinese *bak, which is why the Japanese form is haku). Now imagine a Frenchman asking “Où Li Po?” and Bob’s your uncle.

    And in the course of this comment I have discovered a truly marvelous Chinese poetry site, which I shall provide forthwith with its own entry…

  5. I mentioned Oulipo today, if that’s any help.

    You should read the Perec in the French, apparently. The English translation is, let us say, “controversial”.

  6. Man, almost all the links in this post were dead; it was a drag to Wayback them all, but I did it, even the last two, which no longer display the original images (bah). For my post about Life: A User’s Manual, see here.

  7. Ah, you can see some of the Madden images here.

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