Matt's Reviews > Seven Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries

Seven Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries by Tristan Tzara
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Mar 27, 10

Read in March, 2010

From Page 39:

TO MAKE A DADAIST POEM

Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article of the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that makes up this article and put them all in a bag.
Shake gently.
Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are -- an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.


Anyone with more than a passing interest in William S. Burroughs will recognize the text above as the basis for the cut-up method as practiced by Burroughs and Brion Gysin in the early Sixties. Legend has it (which merely means that I could not find a reliable source in the first two pages of google search results) that Tzara caused a riot when he staged a performance of creating a poem in this manner at a Dadaist rally around 1920. The idea of an art riot has always intrigued me because it means that a large group of people found a work of art to be so moving or else so infuriating that the only thing left to do was tear shit up. Why does this no longer seem to occur? Is modern society too jaded and over mediated for such stirrings to come to physical fruition, or has the urge been socialized out of us over time?

Just as the title suggests, this book is a collection of Tzara's writings about Dada. The manifestos are incendiary tracts hidden behind a sly wink - revolution couched in terms of seemingly nonsensical word play. The lampisteries, on the other hand, show a more quiet, academic side to Tzara. These mainly consist of speeches that he had written about his thoughts on art or else highlighting the work of other members of the Dada movement. The translator notes that some of the lampisteries are written in a style known as critical synthesis, which means that the writer is attempting to give a general impression of the work without allowing the critical voice to intervene.

Throughout this book one can tell that Tzara possessed a poetic ear. Even in his most petulant moments the prose is a thing of beauty. This book is an excellent overview of what Dada was all about from the perspective of the man who was one of the true leaders of that movement, despite whatever Andre Breton might have said.

I consider myself very likeable.




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Matthieu André Breton: castrated lion, false priest (so says Bataille)...


Books Ring Mah Bell I consider myself very likeable.

yes you are.


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