A6 64 Pages
Birds of the British Isles - Philip Terry
Birds of the British Isles introduces to English readers a poetic form created by Paul Fournel of Oulipo – the chicago – which bears a family resemblance to the riddle. It consists of a single stanza of five lines: the final line is a homophonic translation of a place name (or of the name of a bird, a person, etc.); the first four lines are variants which point towards the final line, the “solution” to the riddle, which is held in abeyance for the reader to guess. The final line of one of Fournel’s inuagural texts was a deformation of “Chicago” – “Chie cagot” (literally “shit sanctimonious hypocrite”) – which led Oulipo to name the form a chicago.
Philip Terry’s collection is packed with fabulous, wide-ranging work that displays the full ingenuity, brio and originality of Oulipian ideals in action. An exhilarating feat of in-depth reading, and translating, it takes its place as the definitive anthology in English for decades to come.
Marina Warner on The Penguin Book of Oulipo