Monthly Archives: November 2010

Museing on the limits

Having a brand new blog is a good thing, but every now and then one must find topics to write about. This is time to let loose something which has been sitting on my mind for a while. For this I first need to quote two poems by oulipian author Francois Le Lionnais. They are referred to as ‘Tentatives à la limite’ (‘borderline attempts’) by their author.

The first one is a poem reduced to one word:


which translates into English as:


The second one is a poem reduced to one letter (the inspired reader will provide their own translation):


Now beside the amusing student-joke character of these poems, they actually raise an interesting question. Namely, what minimal amount of text is required to obtain something which can reasonably be referred to as poetry? How many words are needed to convey some feeling, to carry sufficient emotional charge and be recognised and appreciated as poetry? Continue reading