Hundred Thousand Billion Poems

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A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems or One hundred million million poems (original French title: Cent mille milliards de poèmes) is a book by Raymond Queneau, published in 1961. The book is a set of ten sonnets printed on card with each line on a separate strip. As all ten sonnets have not just the same rhyme scheme but the same rhyme sounds, any lines from a sonnet can be combined with any from the nine others, allowing for 1014 (= 100,000,000,000,000) different poems. When Queneau ran into trouble creating the book, he solicited the help of mathematician Francois Le Lionnais, and in the process they initiated Oulipo.[1]

The original French version of the book was designed by Robert Massin. Two full translations into English have been published, those by John Crombie and Stanley Chapman.[2] Beverley Charles Rowe's translation, one that uses the same rhyme sounds, has been published online.[3] In 1984, Edition Zweitausendeins in Frankfurt a.M. published a German translation by Ludwig Harig.

In 1997, a French court decision outlawed the publication of the original poem on the Internet, citing the Queneau estate and Gallimard publishing house's exclusive moral right.[4]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ "Spineless Books". Spineless Books. Retrieved 2015-11-10. 
  2. ^ "Cent mille milliards de počmes". X42.com. Retrieved 2015-11-10. 
  3. ^ "Queneau Home". Bevrowe.info. Retrieved 2015-11-10. 
  4. ^ Luce Libera, 12 268 millions de poèmes et quelques... De l’immoralité des droits moraux, Multitudes n°5, May 2001 (in French)

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