Composing Instruction

You see above the Tristan Tzara poem, ‘To Make a Dadaist Poem’ and I thought I’d have a go, so I followed his instructions to the letter (smirk)

How to make a Dadaist poem-2

found an article in the Centenary edition of Vogue (London) – I haven’t bought a newspaper for some time – chopped it up – didn’t have a bag around so put the words into a dish

How to make a Dadaist poem-3stirred them around – picked them out in small batches – turned them over and transcribed them as I saw them. The result

Thrown background ride background

Ronald working-class front

now was the whole about before

And over photographer this me think schoolgirl

I skinnier trademark this enjoying the

I my Beatles Traeger story suburbs In

studio other for parties model wearing

Biba around modelling miniskirts

her models tragically brand the

and didn’t flying hottest after

been drink me spent But died

she went fashion I with way Vogue just the

that fairy one smaller

shopping the parents

having of the career

after model cover posing the still

just on a a in the he hype shot

my from photographers in

and London’s I

of and young my frocks

the a just

was fashion weekend a

year a My listening around girls landed

surrounding living and

and was tale young the year

was an happily regular

like was my bit flying a so I

I the with in was bicycles

her on a

I very like much time to

I was models went new head

Girls become a the short at

may not be art, it may not even be a poem, but who judge judge?

6 thoughts on “Composing Instruction

  1. Eeek….I imagine the impulse to cheat might have been overwhelming. I’d be playing around with this for hours, not the idea I know, but such a challenge to bring some coherence, some profound inner reflection from my misguided Biba enthralled youth from the words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Probably if I hadn’t been reading Gertrude Stein and Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven all week I’d have been susceptible to that impulse. But after you’ve read, discussed and digested ‘A Dozen Cocktails Please’ you’re a free woman!


    1. I agree, I wouldn’t consider sending this to a magazine! I do think it would be a good exercise to give to students of poetry – both writers and readers – because it does make you think about what poetry is. I organised it a little by putting in the line breaks, but it could be further organised and, possibly, made into an actual poem. And that would take a lot of work, work I don’t think I’m willing to do at this stage, but I reckon I could run a ten week workshop on this. Trying to get students to edit their own work is excruciatingly difficult, but with this they wouldn’t be nearly as attached to the words so they’d be able to discard, cut, and shape without offending their muses.


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