Friday, October 18, 2013

Making My Own Dadaist Poem

I'm taking a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Coursera called Modern & Contemporary American Poetry. ModPo for short. One of the forms of poetry we have studied is Dadaism. Dadaism was an art philosophy that was a reaction to World War 1. Dadaists basically wanted to show the absurdity that led to the war and they wanted to tear the world apart and create something new. They were looking for an alternative way of thinking and being. One of the things we studied was Tristan Tzara's instructions, How To Make A Dadaist Poem. I thought that it was interesting and really wanted to try it myself. I didn't want to take just any article though. I don't like to mess with other people's writing. I decided to take one of my own poems, the poem that I'm most proud of, and see how it would be affected by this method. I was hoping that doing this with something that already has significant meaning to me would create something that still has meaning to me. You can find the original poem here. Here's what I ended up with.

Unfurling will, almost afraid and ride
Long trapped feelings, instant that beautiful
Overwhelm melancholy and the desiresolitary
Detachment, listlessness...time maybe, ready that
To passion shades seems for throw feel occasional
Completely making someone unbalanced, wings
Blessed been...slap suddenlyme find passion
Deserve, wind, depression, caution, confinement, escape
Cycle their fluiditywatch, gather, clear
Who?—My realization with shift dust slowly
The desire endless, voidwater...gasping, blue, desire
Along desire, sucking in, I desire are an parts
Snared has the spirit for meown an after that
And face my...me come the of risks soul many
Endless in all lifefirst in lacking prison to, of
In flight to cycle to I’ve with day so its been
My stagnant an time I’ve take of...my, for life
The of, take life...the to, focus like of soul
As for the of hits be to in the to go a
Of the I...I of for it, a airI, a


I am actually intrigued with most of it. It's far more depressing than the original, but it reminds me of those days when my mind is racing and I can only catch bits and pieces of my thoughts as they race through my head. The problem that I had was that all the little words sunk to the bottom of the bag, so they ended up all being pulled out last. I wish that the last two lines were mixed in with the rest of the poem. I also had a hard time with punctuation for this. Punctuation is supposed to bring order to writing. So how are you supposed to bring traditional order to something that is supposed to have no traditional order?

I think it is a good exercise though. One of the problems I've had in my poetic journey is stepping outside the essayist box that was drilled into me all through school. Exercises like this force your mind to step out of that box and find a new kind of sense. If you are curious, here's a link to a little article about chance operations like this. It would be a good place to start exploring.

Creative Commons License
This work by Porcelain Lotus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88v/tzara.html.

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I would love to know what you think. Constructive criticism is more than welcome.