Jacques Bens


Photo of Jacques Bens

Jacques Bens (1931-2001) is a founding member of the Oulipo (and, along with Jacques Roubaud and Frédéric Forte, one of the Provençaux of the group). Datary at the Collège de ‘Pataphysique, son-in-law to Célestin Freinet, he worked on the Encylcopédie de la Pléïade with Raymond Queneau at Gallimard from 1960 to 1963. During the initial centuries of the Oulipo, he served as “provisional secretary” and kept assiduous minutes of each meeting, edited by Bourgois Press. Poet, novelist and author of short stories (in 1990, he was awarded the Goncourt de la Nouvelle for his Nouvelles désenchantées), he was also an eminent crossword compiler, and he collaborated with Georges Perec in creating the puzzles in Télérama.

Bens is also the founding member of the Oulipopo (Ouvroire de literature policière potentielle). De l'OuLiPo et de la Chandelle verte, Jacque Bens's complete poems, was published in 2005 (Gallimard), edited by François Caradec.