Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Poem - Instructions For Making A Poem by Dadaist Tristan Tzara


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 and put them in a bag.

Shake it gently.

Then take out the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag.

Copy conscientiously.

The poem will be like you.

And here you are a writer, infinitely original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.

Tristan Tzara - 1920

Okay Tristan, here goes. . . 

                            Yesterday’s wind featured the same face 
                            like the good feathers for all starlings
                            their waterfront not wrong coming.

                            Birds learn where they sit
                            facing the wind in the column 
                            resting not which way from it. 

                            All the exceptions live there.
                            No bird of Harwood could reason 
                            like Lynne.
                            Blow on the way so they can tell 
                            when from which. Live always 
                            as a lot, says Nelson

                            CB 2012


th21 630 mars curiosity

Mars science rover Curiosity performed a daredevil descent through pink Martian skies late on Sunday to clinch an historic landing inside an ancient crater, ready to search for signs the Red Planet may once have harbored key ingredients for life.

                            Rover may pink late 
                            on search for ancient Sunday 
                            skies. Key ingredients to clinch 
                            daredevil science. Have ready 
                            Curiosity through descent 
                            a landing inside the life to signs 
                            harbored on Martian Planet. 
                            Mars once performed Red 
                            for an historic crater.

                            CB 2102

For more Tuesday Poems, please click on the quill. 

After a mix-up re; this week's posting TP curator Mary McCallum came up with a cracker --- Wellington poet Bill Manhire reading his poem Hotel Emergencies  


  1. If we understand, after a fashion, does that save us from vulgarity? I enjoyed these, your rewriting of the music. xo

  2. I think this exercise goes to show that having a lot of 'ordinary' words helps when it comes to reconstructing the text into a poem. The first poem works better and seems to make more 'sense' because there are lots of basic words to join the nouns together. The second text lacks these smaller words, to some extent, and consequently the second poem appears more abstruse. The opening line, 'rover may pink late' is tricky, because the mind has to turn 'pink' into a verb of some sort. Interesting exercise, all the same!

  3. Hi Marylinn -- I found his last line rather muddling! It can be read in any number of ways.
    '. . . Charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar??'

    I do love the way you phrase and paraphrase things, Marylinn. You have your own unique way of 'rewriting the music'. Thank you xo

  4. Oh Claire, these made me smile broadly and for a long time!

    My favorite lines:

    "All the exceptions live there."


    "Have ready/Curiosity...."

    (Advice to take seriously.)
    (I will try this at the first breath of free time!)


  5. Oh T! We were on each other's blogs at precisely the same time = without knowing it - and both tapping out messages! Happy synchronicity, my friend! xo

  6. This is fun! Reminds me, in a way, of writing poems anyway. Putting all your words in a bag (brain) and shaking them around, seeing what comes out when you paste them together.

  7. Reminds me of my kids rearranging those magnet words on fridges of friends. I like what this says about randomness and intent, voice and reason, meandering feeling of poetry and precision. Cool post - really enjoyed this.

    Daredevil science -- love that in the context of poetry.

  8. Ah, so this is where the Beat writer, William Burroughs, pinched his "Cut-Up" technique from. Apparently very influential. People like David Bowie writing songs using the cut-up method.

    Has the twisted but somehow valid logic of a dream.