Spectacle Calcium Directive – dVerse

to want them, even

copy paper and of you will

an scissors, some cut

each the order infinitely

one, all unappreciated

each length left

the there

the herd in

conscientiously cut in

the this

the sensibility

poem article put bag-words

make newspaper

take which

shake you out, author

the out carefully

that by a next other article

choose – after

take poem

bag up you – gently though –

the an from original in vulgar

your take and resemble

article this cutting they are

a the of make next charming



This week, on dVerse Meeting the Bar, Victoria has asked us to write poetry as if we had taken a trip back in time almost 100 years, and were living and immersed in Dada.

This era and movement fascinates me and so I am delighted to be taking part – such fun! I have chosen to randomly re-order the words of the (translated) instructions of Tristan Tzara, who wrote guidance on how to generate what were/are known as ‘Chance Operations’ – methods of producing poetry independent of the author’s will or influence. He wrote, in his ‘Dada Manifesto on Feeble Bitter & Love’ the following:

“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.”

I hope you enjoy my randomness – I can see me doing something like this again, just for the fun of it, and just because it makes no sense, perfectly. Which was kind of the point, was it not? The First World War made no sense, and Dada was a commentary on and response to it.

Please pop over to dVerse to read some excellent poems, Dada style. Join in – we don’t bite!



47 thoughts on “Spectacle Calcium Directive – dVerse

  1. In school, we once did an exercise that looks very similar to the one Tristan Tzara suggested but I cannot remember when this was. We must have had fun, otherwise I probably would not remember it.

  2. Oh, you paper bag prophet, poet, & princess; this is bone fide, by-the-letter, hardcore Dada-time; which tears open the caskets of nonsense I carry with me daily, dearly loving any reason to reach within and sprinkle read or imagined words into the winds of absurdity, like a snake handler talking in tongues; oh, yes, I dig it; thanks.

  3. I’m so excited that you did this, Freya. About a third of the way through, it dawned on me what you were doing. Chop reality up into little pieces–who knows what we will come up with!

    1. I was happy I thought of using the instructions as the poem – I was a bit flummoxed to start off with, wondering what I could produce! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  4. haha….that is exactly how you dada…smiles…the first time i did a dada poem i cut up and drew out….funny how i can follow this….ha….charming indeed…lol

  5. When I started to read your text I realized that you had used Tristan’s method.. it took me while longer to realize you had deconstructed his text.. very good… it’s like dada on dadda or maybe dada^2 🙂

  6. Dada squared – how funny – on DaDa protesting –taking the a out and the the in, into, inbetween author poetry lines inside no outside no sense yes sense from nonsense..stop, no start – invent and deconstruct – madness and method. Swell!

  7. …just goes to show there is nothing that doesn’t quality as some form of poetry, because random words have a way of falling into sense.

    1. Thank you, Charlie! 🙂

      Yes, I’d be up for a collaboration – why not? I’ve never done it before… always willing to try new things… Flarfy Dada anyone? 😉

  8. Man, I completely love this poem! It’s exactly what you’re supposed to do with this prompt, I think.

    This is my favorite part:
    “bag up you – gently though –
    the an from original in vulgar
    your take and resemble”

    And this:
    “and of you will
    an scissors, some cut
    each the order infinitely
    one, all unappreciated”

    But wow, that title rocks.

  9. What do we miss if we edit life? It is what the scissors and all those missing words told me.
    It must have been fun deconstructing the original piece. 🙂

  10. I once attended a workshop where we were forced to break up our phrases and lines in this manner, to become aware of the infinite possibilities of language combinations. Lego language, I think they called it. Looks like you had some fun with it!

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