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The manuscript of this book was found recently by researchers examining the papers left by Anton. It introduces a new verse form, invented by Anton's late friend, Zaiden Levavi: the limeruck. Each limeruck uses the word #*%, once, and there are other rules.
The book takes the form of a verse primer for budding poets. It develops the possibilities of limeruck form, with illustrated examples. There are many illustrations, some music, one fundamental equation, and suggested exercises.
From the author's preface:
Zaiden Levavi was one of my oldest friends.
We came from distinct cultural backgrounds,
but shared a few important things.
We both had roots in former pales: mine
in an Irish pale built to exclude
fractious Celts, and his in a Russian
pale built to contain Abraham's progeny.
Levavi was an accomplished poet,
and always ready to encourage new talent.
If he liked a beginner's prose, he would say:
"Young man, why not turn your hand to verse?
You could do verse with it!"
He taught me a lot. Now that he is gone, I
take up the torch.
I hope this book will
encourage you to express yourself in verse.
There have been other efforts
with the same objective.
Rainer Maria Rilke's
Letters to a Young Poet
are widely admired, and
have much merit, but I am
going to tell you some of the important stuff
that Rilke doesn't mention. I am also
going to introduce you to a hitherto unknown
field of work, ripe for exploitation: the limeruck.
Fergal Anton's mother came from old Ascendancy stock, but ran away
to join a travelling circus in her teens
and proved to have a talent for
the high wire. She married a Hungarian lion-tamer,
and Fergal was born in winter quarters in Picardy in 1955.
Orphaned at the age of four when his parents
attempted a daring double-act, he was taken into the the care of a wealthy,
eccentric aunt, who lived in the shadow of the Devilsbit mountain in
north Tipperary. She attempted to home-school him,
with mixed results. As a child, obsessed with Mathematics,
she neglected other studies, so that she had to spend her nineteenth year
at Caffrey's College in Dublin in order to pass Latin in the
Matriculation Examination. She boarded at the Ashling Hotel,
and fell hopelessly in love with Ludwig Wittgenstein, also in
residence there at the time. This entirely unrequited passion
dominated her life, largely spent in reclusive mathematical
investigation and repeated attempts to get to grips with
Wittgenstein's thought. Fergal's education at her hands
exposed him to some rigorous thinking and inculcated
a love of books, but hardly prepared him for the
usual bourgeois treadmill. He picked up some skills in a couple of abortive
apprenticeships, but was unable to settle,
and became a wandering jack-of-all-trades and adventurer. Little is
known of this period of his life. Some believe he served
in the Royal Navy, or the French Foreign Legion, or
worked clearing minefields in the Western Desert.
He certainly worked as a security guard for a number of companies, before
finally settling in the position of night-watchman in a
university library. He did not return from holiday in the
Summer of 1995, and has never been seen since. When
his aunt died, his room in her house was found to contain a
mass of his effects, including voluminous writings. On examination,
the manuscript of this novel came to light.
Her heirs brought it to the attention of Logic Press,
and it was published under the title
to huge public acclaim.
Encouraged by the reception of that work,
the Press decided to re-invest a proportion of the substantial
profit, and employed a team of expert archivists
to continue the exploration of the Anton papers.
The first fruit of their labours is this second
book, which appears to be the result of
Anton's collaboration with another mysterious
The investigators have not, so far, managed to find
any independent information about the life and career
of Levavi, but did come across
a stray foolscap leaf among Anton's papers
that appeared to have various draft lines
for an epitaph. One possible reconstruction
of the finished piece is:
Long ago, just a couple of schmucks,
We wrote verses that ended in #*%s.
Now I'm sorry to say
That we minstrels' last lay
Is a memory fading away.