Sunday, January 23, 2005

To make a dada poem

from Manifesto on Feeble & Bitter Love

To make a dada poem
Take a newspaper.
Take a pair of scissors.
Choose an article as long as you are planning to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Then cut out each of the words that make up this article & put them in a bag.
Shake it gently.
Then take up the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag.
Copy conscientiously.
The poem will be like you.

Tristan Tzara (French 1896 - 1963)


A.R.B. said...

Hi, Peter. This is what’s great about blogging. There you are ready to hit the sack—been a long day, you know—and suddenly you take a peak through Peter’s window. Bang! Tristan Tzara. DADA. (Well I really wanted to go to bed—to read actually—but then I think that Peter went through the trouble of posting that interesting poem, and it's Tzara, been years, shit!) It really has been years since I thought about DADA. (I was in college freaking out over anything by Buñuel and the surrealists. Went to the Village in NY and spent a whole weekend watching Buñuel films and documentaries about their anarchic times.) What an interesting movement. Funny, as usual, that so many from that movement and later the surrealists should fall slowly into more mainstream writing / narrative / film-making. Notice how careful Tzara is with his description of DADA in the poem you posted. How precise—and conscious. So, so interesting. How the believers in the unconscious prepared ultra-conscious manifestos. “There is a literature that does not reach the voracious mass. It is the work of creators, issued from a real necessity in the author, produced for himself.” I used to love that—I still do. I love that egotism in poets. That necessary selfishness. To write for oneself. How naïve can I be?


32poems said...


Thanks for the dada reminder and "lesson." This reminded me of all the dada plays I had to read in college as a theatre major.

Welcome to the blog world. When you get a chance, come on over and visit:

All the best,

Peter said...

Hi Alberto and Deborah:
Glad you enjoyed the Tzara poem. I found it in the Copper Canyon website, of all places! It is similar to an exercise I have done with students.
I too have always felt an affinity for dada (DADA?) and the surrealists. I love the irrationality, the use of constraint, and chance, and highly focussed attention blended with a kind of relaxed accepting of whatever happens. With the advent of the internet, I think many of their exercises and forms have had (may have) a bit of a rebirth.
and thanks for visiting my blog . . .