Oulipo - "workshop of potential literature"

Finally elaborated, this definition remains the Oulipo's rule. In his conversations with Charbonnier, Queneau returns to it nearly word for word: The word "potential" concerns the very nature of literature; that is, fundamentally it's less a question of literature strictly speaking than of supplying forms for the good use one can make of literature. We call potential literature the search for new forms and structures that may be used by writers in any way they see fit.

Finally, and more recently, Le Lionnais: The Oulipo's goal is to discover new structures and to furnish for each structure a small number of examples.

As we can see, teh rules of the sonnet, which are Oulipo's bread and butter, remain the perfect example of our aims. But in all of this there is a relatively new way of considering literature, and it is not by chance (and without bad feelings toward the old world) that Queneau writes that we propose to elaborate a whole arsenal in which the poet may pick and choose, whenever he wishes to escape from that which is called inspiration.

History will testify that the Oulipo saved men from the infantile diseases of writers and gave true freedom to the latter, which consists, exercising "their passionate taste for the obstacle," in finding the springboard of their action in the world itself.


Example: a book of poems, with each line of the poem given its own cut on the page, so that you can flip individual lines and create new poems. An early form of mashup.

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Poetry (0.948973): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Platonism (0.693111): dbpedia | freebase
Structure (0.671636): dbpedia | freebase
World (0.670886): dbpedia | ciaFactbook | freebase
Old World (0.655449): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Form of the Good (0.648641): dbpedia | freebase
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Butter (0.638281): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 A Brief History of the Oulipo
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Lescure, Jean (1973), A Brief History of the Oulipo, La Litterature Potentielle, 32-39, Paris, Retrieved on 2009-11-30