"’Sybil,’ said I, ‘thing of loathing — sybil, fury in bird’s clothing!
By God’s radiant kingdom soothing all man’s purgatorial pain,
Inform this soul laid low with sorrow if upon a distant morrow
It shall find that symbol for — oh for its too long unjoin’d chain —
Find that pictographic symbol, missing from its unjoin’d chain’
Quoth that Black Bird, ‘Not Again’"

"The Black Bird", as rendered by Adair, is not by Poe, but by the lipogramatic Arthur Gordon Pym.

A number of websites I read (1, 2, 3, 4) have taken it upon themselves to create a guerilla celebration: Oulipo Day (or possibly Month or Year). It’s no zanier than "For Pete’s Sake" Day or Polar Bear Day or any of the other manufactured holidays from last month, so why not? Mind you, I haven’t ever read any Raymond Queneau or Georges Perec. I have, however, read Gilbert Adair. Adair is something of a Renaissance man; he is the author of Love and Death in Long Island (which was made into a movie starring Jason Priestly, so it must have been good) and a noted film critic, as well as an essayist and theoretician (about such topics as the origins of Death in Venice and the poetry of Bruce Andrews). More to the point, he’s translated a lipogrammatic novel by Perec; Adair’s translation (called A Void in English) takes the plot of Perec’s La disparition, a whodunit about the mysterious death of Anton Vowl and, more amazingly, also carries off Perec’s trick of leaving out the letter "e". It’s been done before in English, but the sections and reviews ("Arranging for many such omissions in this book is our lurking author, a lipogrammatic artist and assassin who both plots Vowl’s doom and plucks his customary signatorial pictograph.") I’ve read make Adair’s version sound like a good deal of fun. Poe’s "The Raven" is the jumping-off point for "Poe, E.: Near a Raven", the most impressive exercise in the Oulipian vein I’ve seen to date (no slight intended to the authors of the Theory of Relativity as rendered in Made Apex Dean). An instantly recognizable poem with easily mimicked cadences must lend itself to Oulipo zaniness, because where Perec wrote lipogrammatic transpositions of Hugo and Verlaine, Adair does his own take on "The Raven":

"’Sybil,’ said I, ‘thing of loathing — sybil, fury in bird’s clothing!
By God’s radiant kingdom soothing all man’s purgatorial pain,
Inform this soul laid low with sorrow if upon a distant morrow
It shall find that symbol for — oh for its too long unjoin’d chain —
Find that pictographic symbol, missing from its unjoin’d chain’
Quoth that Black Bird, ‘Not Again’"

"The Black Bird", as rendered by Adair, is not by Poe, but by the lipogramatic Arthur Gordon Pym.