• Raymond Queneau, exercising his styles

As part of Wordplay Week on the Bleader, we’d like to invite you to participate in a classic exercise that puts your literary wit to the test.

The Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle (“workshop for potential literature”) was a club cofounded in Paris in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and Francois Le Lionnais. Called the Oulipo for short, it comprised mathematicians and writers who investigated language from a structuralist point of view by creating texts according to conceits of their own devising: a novel without the letter “e,” for instance; a poem that’s reconstituted by systematically substituting new nouns for the originals; a book of ten sonnets in which each line appears on a separate strip of paper, allowing—according to the book’s title—for a “hundred thousand billion” possible poems.

Here’s where you come in.