Saturday, November 11, 2006

The ABZs of Boys

Dan Waber, Boys, A-Z: A Primer (2 Oct 2006)

Dan Waber, in an impressive show of technical mastery along with a soupçon or more of Oulipian spirit, has put together a solid little booklet examining the sexavigesimal structure of our written language. What he does is this: he names each boy with each letter of the alphabet in sequence, creates a simple drawing of a boy's face out of the appropriate letter of the alphabet and a few squiggles of the pen, then he writes a four- or five-line and twenty-six-word light-verse poem about that boy.

To make this more difficult is the point of each poem: to begin each word in the sexagesimal series with a different letter of the alphabet, each letter presented in alphabetical order. So Adam's poem starts "Adam builds computers," ending with "zippers," and Oliver's begins with "Oliver Plays Quiet Riot," going to the end of the alphabet and around, ending with "now."

Dan even continues the fun into his "A Bio" and to the back-cover blurb, which goes like this:

All boys come disguised, especially from girls.
Here is juicy knowledge, lessons maybe no one
previously quilled. Relax, sit tight,
uncover villains while x-raying y-chromosome zone.

Most remarkable of all, is that these little stanzas still make literal sense!

un violon d'ingres

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