WoPoLi: The State of Potential Literature; When OuLiPo Leaves France

Publication Type:
Journal Article
New Writing, 2014, 11 (2), pp. 296 - 306
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Oulipo is an abbreviation of Ouvroir de littérature potentielle or ‘workshop for potential literature’. A French writing group that reject the label of a school or movement, it originated in 1960 through the efforts of Noël Arnaud, Jacques Bens, Claude Berge, Jacques Duchateau, Jean Lescure, Latis, Jean Queval, Albert-Marie Schmidt, and cofounders François Le Lionnais and Raymond Queneau. Subtle Channels was an Oulipo Laboratory, held in San Francisco across four November days in 2013, sponsored by City Lights Bookstore & Publishers with the Mechanics' Institute Library and the San Francisco Art Institute. It marks yet another step beyond the borders of France for this constraint-employing coterie of writers and mathematicians, and demands a recognition and examination of the current state of potential literature. Subtle Channels is also what exists between the chronological, alphabetical, and definitional constraints governing the form and structure of this work. Bolded words acting as a solution, one of many, to the navigation of the text.
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