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Raymond Queneau’s Hundred Thousand Billion Poems or One hundred million million poems (original French title: Cent mille milliards de poèmes), published in 1961, is a set of ten sonnets. They are printed on card with each line on a separated strip, like a heads-bodies-and-legs book. As all ten sonnets have not just the same rhyme scheme but the same rhyme sounds, any lines from a sonnet can be combined with any from the nine others, so that there are 1014 (= 100,000,000,000,000) different poems. It would take some 200,000,000 years to read them all, even reading twenty-four hours a day.

Two full translations into English have been published, those by John Crombie and Stanley Chapman. There is also a full translation on the internet by Beverley Charles Rowe that uses the same rhyme sounds.

In 1984 Edition Zweitausendeins in Frankfurt a.M. published a German translation by Ludwig Harig.

In 1997, a French court decision outlawed the publication on the Internet of this poem [1]. The court decided that the son of Queneau and the Gallimard editions possessed an exclusive and moral right on this poem, thus outlawing any publication of it on the Internet and possibility for the reader to play Queneau's interactive game of poem construction [1].

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External links Edit

fr:Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes


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