Alain Zalmanski


Toward Oulipo

Photo of Alain Zalmanski

Alain Zalmanski is a living encyclopedia, a retired chemist who takes after Charles Cros and Alphonse Allais. The vast and informative website "Fatrazie" gives ample proof of its author's measure(lessness). He who signs AZ enjoys word games, spoonerisms, rebuses, charades and enigmas. A know-it-all for all things Oulipian and ’Pataphysical, the walls of his home are lost under layers of books … and puzzlers!

Mixing citations from Victor Hugo, Raymond Queneau, Robert Desnos, Boris Vian, Georges Perec, Boby Lapointe, Serge Gainsbourg, Raymond Devos, etc., among other expert wordsmiths, he comments: “These authors felt the need to confront language, particularly through games, in order to control it. Clearly, such is the raison d'être of Oulipians. Henry Landroit, the great Belgian defender of the French language put it so well: ‘language games have yet another advantage: contrary to so many other games, they fail to instigate real competition among participants. More often than not, it is less a matter of winning as it is a matter of discovery.’”