After Oulipo

Posted by Ken Edwards on Thursday, January 6, 2011 Under: writing
The "After Oulipo" edition of the online magazine Ekleksographia, published by Ahadada Books, is out. Guest edited by Philip Terry, it's a fascinating collection of current rule-based writings, inspired in various ways by the example of the original Oulipo group, members of which include Georges Perec, Jacques Roubaud, Italo Calvino and Harry Mathews (who is included in this issue).

The spirit of Oulipo, which sought to free literature by, paradoxically, introducing constraints on its production, such as mathematical structures or restricted vocabularies, is very much alive here. And I am glad to say that many of the contributors happen to be poets and writers associated with Reality Street, or familiar to the press: Tim Atkins, Andy Brown, Harry Gilonis, Paul Griffiths, Leopold Haas (whose The Raft will appear in full from Reality Street this year), Alan Halsey, Robert Hampson, Peter Hughes, Tony Lopez, Rupert Loydell, Peter Manson, David Miller, Geraldine Monk, Robert Sheppard, Simon Smith, Tony Trehy and Johan de Wit among them.

One name unfamiliar to me is Will Ashon, whose use of Globish interests me – I too have been playing with this simplified form of English with a vocabulary restricted to 1,500 words. 

My own contribution, "A Portrait of Our Father", attempts a forensic examination of patriarchy by stitching together found sentences about male characters, heavily weighted towards dictators and other oppressive individuals (the lives of Franco and Mussolini are two sources), but also including sentences about the various Ken Edwardses I've found when idly self-googling, as well as examples from literature and religious writings and descriptions of friends and family from my journals. 

In : writing 

Tags: oulipo "ekleksographia after oulipo" 
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Ken Edwards This blog is written by Ken Edwards, co-founder and editor/publisher of Reality Street, and it's mainly about the press. Ken's personal blog can now be found at