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an acronym for the literary group Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle. translated as Workshop for Potential Literature

founded in France on 24 November 1960 by a group of writers, mathematicians, and academics.
initially developed due to discussions over Raymond Queneau's 100,000,000,000,000 Sonnets, and the possibilities of incorporating mathematical structures in literary works.
The official aim of Oulipo is 'to invent (or reinvent) restrictions of a formal nature and propose them to enthusiasts interested in composing literature.'
another definition: An Oulipian author is a rat who himself builds the maze from which he sets out to escape.
(some material quoted from Oulipo Compendium ed. by Harry Mathews & Alastair Brotchie)