So now, we're going to spend a few minutes talking about not so much a poem as a set of instructions For how you make art, by Tristan Tzara, who doesn't really fit in the course because he's not an American poet. He's a famous dadaist. He's a Romanian and French poet and essayist and performance artist. But he has such influence on this movement that we've been talking about. He's sort of parallel to the Baroness, although much more thoughtful, can I say, and essayistic about dadaism and I don't think she was specifically influenced by him. But we're looking at how make a dadaist poem, and it's an instruction. >> Its famous done in 1920 I think we should talk a little about it as another incidence in which modernism can be pushed further maybe even than we will be talk about. So, somebody want to say what we're supposed to do with this. Ally, what are we supposed to do exactly here? >> Well take a Newspaper. >> Mh-hm >> Cut it up ... >> Cut what? >> Cut up the words. >> Take one article. >> Yeah. >> Yeah. >>, Yeah. So one article, cut up the words in it. Put it into a hat. >> Put all the words into a hat? Into a bag. >> Okay. Into a bag, excuse me. Then kind of blindly or randomly or accidentally take them out and that would be your poem. >> So take one word out, copy down the poem. And then what claim does this make that is audacious? >> Amaris about what the result will be. >> Says at the end you will be a writer who is infinitely original which seems ironic since the process is arbitrary and the source is this information. >> So what possible sense of originality is this? >> I think it's the originality of interpretation. So, it's telling us not to be afraid of the nonsense that will inevitably be the product of this exercise. But the poem will be like us in the way that we choose to read it. >> Anybody wanna try originality in this sense? Anna? >> Well, if you're taking something like a newspaper article and say it's a front page story about like a fire, let's say. And you take that. >> A local newspaper. >> Sure. >> Apparently if it's got fire on the front page. >> All right. >> [laugh] That's good. >> So you take this front page story that's supposed to be objective, just giving you the facts. This is where it was, this is how it started, this is how many people were injured, this is how much damage was done. >> Just the facts, man. >> Just the facts. >> And that's, what kind of writing would you say? >> Objective or ... >> Pseudo. >> Reporting. >> Objective reporting. Journalistic. Full sentences. >> You take all that. You put it. >> Memorable? >> Not really. >> In fact not even. I mean deliberately not memorable. You read an article about a fire on the front page of newspaper once. >> You say that's sad. >> And you throw it out. >> Mm, recycle it hopefully. But [laugh], so. >> Well, he's recycling it. I'm sure in 1920 you didn't recycle it. >> Probably not. >> Right. >> But so here you are, you have this you know, this language as we've just described it. You put it in a bag, you shake it up and you completely re-purpose it. What does that create? That creates something original. >> And does, it doesn't resemble journalistic prose anymore? >> I would hope not. >> Probably not. >> But though the words are the same. Kristen, what does it mean to say here you are a writer? Infinitely original, endowed with a sensibility that is charming. Though beyond the understanding of the vulgar. >> Well, I think by understanding of the vulgar, he means that the newspaper article itself would have been within the understanding of the vulgar. It would have been something that the common person reads and digests and gets meaning out of that this completely un-ordered poem that's arbitrary, not even the content mattered, he says. Pick a, pick an audible that's the length that you want it to be, not that's about anything that you want your poem to be is something that the, the common person would say what is this to. >> What about vulgar? Anybody want to deal with the world vulgar? >> It's loaded. >> It's a loaded word, but what does it mean, typically? >> Tasteless, classless, sort of connotations. >> Course. >> Of low, morality. Yeah. >> Low class. >> [crosstalk]. >> Low morality. >> That journalism always has an angle. So to me I read that politically, as meaning that, it com, it's information communicated to the masses. That's what the purpose of a newspaper is. And he's subwriting all that. >> Isn't he. >> By cutting. >> Reversing. >> It all up. >> Vulgar then? I mean, it would be the urinal upside down that would be called vulgar by its critics. It would be the nude descending a staircase that would be called vulgar. Alright. It would be this nonsense. This data cut off that would be vulgar. He's turning it around isn't he? >> To the people who don't understand this, or the ones that are vulgar. >> Well he might be making that judgement, I hope somewhat ironically or fasciciously but he's certainly saying something about, the news paper article about the fire. So I think we've served, established that he's reversing the charge.And that what's vulgar is the language that you write in plain sentences and throw away. What about the claim just prior to that? The poem will be like you. Dave? >> I think he's making a comment on randomness being choice because the, before that, he makes it clear, take out each step one by one, copy them conscientiously. That is. >> I love conscientiously there. >> It's a, people would look at that and say it's a completely random process, but each time, it's a choice. >> And I think he's saying something about how random this could be a choice. And it can be unique. >> It could. That's a good start. Why, somebody else? Why? Molly, why would the poem be like you? It seems like since it's so random it wouldn't be at all a self expression. >> Right. But you're the one doing the work. I think in this case it's more about the process of leaving the home. >> Self expression. Here's how I'm feeling. The traditional I of post-romantic or romantic and post-romantic expression. This is how I'm feeling, actually says our, and his colleagues turns out to be rote, socialized, routinized, and already determined meaning. Just at the point where you think this is my original feeling. What's really original is something that doesn't come from that traditional place of self expression. Does that make sense? That's probably an, as important lesson as you can possibly learn about these, the constraint based or form based writing that it takes subjectivity away. >> But actually, subjectivity is already so encrusted with received meaning about how the self feels. That to abandon subjectivity ironically or paradoxically brings you to yourself. Anybody wanna say one more thing about this? The poem will be like you. How. >> Well. >> It's so audacious. >> Just getting back to, randomness. It just makes me think of you know, ... >> The, the, depending on how long your poem. Depending on how long your article is, how long you want your poem to be. There's so, so, so many ways for it to potentially turn out. And that kind of just goes back to you know. The origin of every person. The chance that like they, that you the writer would be you, would be the writer. >> Interesting. >> I don't know. >> What about infinitely original? What about the word "infinitely"? I mean, following from Ally's comment about being there certainly in a article about fire you know 200 word article, you've got a lot of possible combinations and permutations each one of them will be distinct you can do a whole lot more. Then you fought with these kinds of sentences. Any thoughts about this? Infinitely original? >> Well I think the infinite speaks to a sort of immortality as well. Because the newspapers only that you discard every day and he's seems to be highlighting the necessity of destruction before newness of creation. >> Mm. >> And here he's cutting it down to every word but I think as we move more towards contemporary poetry that'll be cut down even further to the level of syllable. Even the letter and so in that way you can infinitely cut down and infinitely recreate. >> This seems to be. I don't want to use the word, extreme, lightly. But an, an extremity of the claim of, make it new. For instance, William Carlos Williams in Spring and All, and the prose of Spring and All, said that what we wanted to do was the poetic equivalent of, of destroying the Carpathian Mountains and taking a natural rise and completely flattening it, starting over. Those are, that's revolutionary talk, violent talk. And as much as we admire Williams, he didn't actually destroy in that kind of way. Nobody actually destroyed. Although there is some destruction here, literally a newspaper's being destroyed. One Last consideration on this. He's having us deconstruct, a newspaper. And though, you, your example of the fire is fairly neutral. What if it's, an article about the Armistice? Or what if it's an article about Prohibition? Or what if it's an article about the suppression of left wing parties in central Europe right after World War I? Is this, even though it doesn't seem to be political, in what way is this a political intervention? I think data was pretty inherently political, because a lot of the data has felt that it's really difficult like, this, if data really rises like during and after World War I, and a lot of them felt like you can't really have art that is aesthetic in a world that has been so torn apart by all the destruction they saw in World War I. >> How could we write whole after all this fragmentation But let's start with this piece itself and anybody say how this instruction could be political. >> Well, the nonsense that would emerge would not be held down by an ideological position the way that a newspaper is. We can often label newspapers as conservative or liberal. >> It's freed of ideology. >> Right. >> Mm. >> That's what I want to say. >> Mm, well. >> Political intervention. >> The words in it. I, even though. >> No, I, I, I think you're right. >> [crosstalk] example of. >> No, no, no, no. I, I agree with, like, what. I definitely think that's a possibility. But at the same time, there's also the possibility that depending on the placement of the words and just chants in general. >> I meant [crosstalk] sense, that's what I meant. >> Yeah, but I also think it's interesting that like, you know, depending on chants in general, something completely contrary to what the original author intended might result which is also kind of, that's political and. >> Could need also be just questioning the way we get our news? >> Of course. He's, he's destroying the medium, he's questioning the medium. We're about to move to chapter three where we'll meet very briefly two communist poets of the depression in the United States, two political poets. And you will find them reverting to narrative and descriptive language. In a way, Zara and others are saying, "You know, there is a lot of ways to be political." And the most fundamental way to be political they would say. This is a claim that we can accept or reject. The most fundamental way is to say to those who are making sense. Particularly after World War I which is not a war that made a ton of sense. The language you speak, this coherent language you speak makes no sense to me. I do not understand. What you've done is nonsense. And I am going to respond by speaking nonsense. I'm going to respond by speaking in a way that makes no sense to you. I'm not willing to say, to mean on the same level that you mean. Instead of responding with a position against the position, the idea is to take no position at all and to recycle the words that were used as a way of feeding back what nonsense it was in the first place. That's a, that's a kind of formerly radically way of being political. And this man, Zara, eventually in the '30s became an anti-fascist, got involved in the Spanish civil war, against Franco, and in, in a way, you could see some of these moves with political writing, such as journalistic writing, toward his anti-fascist positions, by being so anti-authoritarian in the way he makes meaning. Final word on this, is this, who's ever done anything like this? You have. What's fun about doing this? >> Just, I think it's really fun to not know what's going to happen. And then to just kind of. There is something very liberating about not having. It's funny that he says copy conscientiously because it's, what's liberating for me is not having conscious, really like, will of you know, not, not having choice as to how it turns out. >> And I believe that the person who taught you to do this is in chapter nine of our course. Is that Charles Bernstein? >> Yes, that's Charles. >> And it turns out that William Burroughs, on the most avant-garde side of the beat movement, picked this up again, and did Cutups in 1959 and 1960. And then this becomes a mode that, in part, get adopted by Jackson McCloe, and John Cage, and then the language poets such as Charles Bernstein. So this actually becomes, although it's an extreme end of modernism as we've studied so far, it's going to come back again and again as an important way to suppress the tendency to be subjective, traditionally subjective. To suppress the creative ego and release the infinitely original.