Author: Georges Perec (1936 - 1982)
Artist: Paolo Boni (1926 - 2017)
Publisher: R.L.D. [Robert et Lydie Dutrou]
Perec, who became so famous after his death that an asteroid was even named after him, wrote a number of highly distinct works, which have in common that they are based on game rules, on limitations that rule out coincidence. He wrote a story for instance in which the vowel 'e' does not appear, and the knight's move (from the game of chess) determines in which order the various rooms of a house are described in La vie mode d'emploi ('Life, a User's Manual). He also wrote so-called 'heterogrammatical' poems, written with a limited number of letters: a, e, i, l, n, o, r, s, t, u, adding one other letter of the alphabet for each poem (the so-called 'joker'). The author therefore uses a special alphabet of only 11 letters for these poems. The poem is presented in a square of 11 x 11 letters, in which the letters he uses may only appear once in each line and each column. For clarity's sake, the poem is also presented in more traditional form, with the addition of punctuation marks, accents, spaces and blank lines. In 1976 Perec published 176 such poems under the title Alphabets. He changed his spelling rules for Métaux: these are seven poems for which he used a 14-letter alphabet: 12 regular letters (a, d, e, i, l, m, n, o, r, s, t, u) with one additional letter for each poem, and another 'joker' letter.