The Monday Poem – To Make a Dadist Poem

This week’s poem is a little different – a poem instructing the reader on how to create a poem.

To Make A Dadist Poem – Poem by Tristan Tzara

Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that make 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.

Please do share if you give this technique a go!

2 thoughts on “The Monday Poem – To Make a Dadist Poem

  1. I’ve done the cut up thing, but it’s messy. A variation I went with back in the Sixties was to just randomly select words from a book, periodical, or even a dictionary. Flip the pages, point a finger abstractly. I’d allow myself to add articles and change word-forms (tense, adjectival, etc), which added some level of readability I thought. Later in the century I used computer methods, loading arrays of words and letting randomization routines do the picking.

    In general any such practice frees the mind, lets one see the possibilities of connections one would not make from intent, and as such I recommend it generally.

    Results in actuality are often deadening for me to read beyond a certain (short) length. I think it’s common for avant-gardist writers to miss the humor in Tzara last two lines.

    When I went to translate some Tzara this year, I expected mostly non-linear nonsense from a stance in rebellion to conventional nonsense, but found him capable of unexpected tenderness. Also unexpected: my translation of his “The Death of Apollinaire” combined with music, has been one of the most popular audio pieces at my blog.

    There is too little of Tzara available in English translation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.