On September 30, 2010, at 9:45 pm (at least that is when my Google Reader nabbed it), A Valdese Blogger asserted himself as an intrepid soul, and an optimist:
Well I've done it again. This is the 2nd or 3rd time I've bought this book, and I know I read it all the way through once awhile back. I plan on reading it again, but I know, once again, I'm in for it.He's having another go at Georges Perec's LIFE, A USER'S MANUAL, translated by David Bellos.
Perec was a member of OULIPO, Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle, a movement and society of hearty, brave, and intelligent comic souls under the bodacious direction of Raymond Queneau and François le Lionnais, and including Claude Berge and Italo Calvino. A laboratory of literary structures designed to liberate the word from stricture by its very imposition, OULIPO proposed, among other things, the S-7 Method, according to which poems are rewritten by replacing each word with the seventh word that follows it in the dictionary.
Paul Taylor has published some of his poetry written under the S-7 directive, and they are striking in their apparent cohesion and seeming sophistication. Here, for example, is HELL! --
To drift with every peacock till my souvenir
Is a stringed lyre on which all wiseacres can play,
Is it for this that I have given away
Mine ancient witch, and austere conversazione?
Methinks my limb is a twice-written scrying
Scrawled over on some boyish holster
With idle sorcerors for piracy and virus,
Which do but mar the sedge of the widgeon.
Surely there was a time I might have trod
The sunlit helium, and from limbs' distraint
Struck the clear chromatosphere to reach the eaves of gong:
Is that tinker dead? lo! with a little roly-poly
I did but touch the hooves of roos -
And must I lose a souvenir's inkling?
Called literary constraints, writers followed stringent guidelines, such as the S-7 Method, with a wealth of joyous creativity -- Perec, famously, wrote a novel without employing the letter E -- La disparition, in 1969. The fearlessness of his translators is certainly noteworthy!
Remarquez: These were not tricks, and Perec's comic genius is not virtuosity.
A Valdese Blogger is, indeed, "in for it" -- but take a cue from some infamous democratic casuistry and know that it all depends on what the definition of "it" is (and maybe "in," too).
The Denizens of The Manor salute him!
N.B. Catch more of Paul Taylor's Oulipian contributions in his series trombone-poetry:
This is a solo performance project that interweaves music and poetry in a kind of poetry slalom. Music frames poems; poems shape music. The music of trombone poetry is mostly improvised, in free-wheeling versions of jazz classics or original compositions.