References and Notes for Dada

1. A useful bibliography and a collection of essays covering the New York Dada scene can be found in New York Dada, edited by Rudolf E. Kuenzli (New York: Willis Locker & Owens Publishing, 1986.

2. Hugo Ball, Flight Out of Time, edited by John Elderfield, translated by Ann Raimes (New York: The Viking Press, The Documents of the 20th Century Art, 1974 [1924]), p. 70.

3. Dadaist sound poetry was known to the English speaking public since at least the thirties. Eugene Jolas had published and discussed various Dadaist and Futurist sound poets in his archtypal little magazine, Transition. Ball's description in Flucht aus der Zeit of inventing the lautgedichte was translated into English in Jolas's article "Hugo Ball: Sound Poems," in Transition No. 25, Fall (Paris: Shakespeare and Co., 1936). A recent collection of writings published in Transition between the years of 1927 to 1930 can be found in In Transition: A Paris Anthology, with an introduction by Noel Riley Fitch (New York: Anchor Books, 1990).

4. Barzun's importance and experiments in the simultaneous perception of multiple narrative flows for poetry are largely unknown at present. A mention of some of his work and influence can be found in Roger Shattuck's The Banquet Years (New York: Vintage, 1968) and Louise Varese's Varese: A Looking-Glass Diary, Volume 1, (New York: Norton & Company, 1972). Also, from Eugene Jolas, 'Glossary,' Transition No. 27 (Paris: Shakespeare & Co., April-May, 1938): He [Barzun] started his experiments in the simultaneist orchestration of poetry as far back as 1900. He based his work on the recognition of rhythm as the basic human creative link. In 1907 he began a vast poem called L'Universal Poeme... Barzun's influence has been a profound one. Many poets and dramatists in Europe have followed in his footsteps (Ferdand Divoire, Nicholas Beaudoin, Richard Aldington, Marinetti, etc.). Zurich Dada took over the results of his experiments...

5. Tristan Tzara, 'Poemes Negres', translated by Piette Joris, Alcheringa, Volume Two, Number 1 (Boston: 1976) pp. 76-114. Richard Huelsenbeck invented his own 'Negro words' and learned several authentic African and South Seas chants from the landlord of the Cabaret Voltaire (an old Dutch seaman). Huelsenbeck would also recite these chants and call them sound poems. See, Richard Huelsenbeck, Memoirs of a Dada Drummer, edited by Hans J. Kleinschmidt (New York: Viking Press, The Documents of 20th Century Art, 1974), pp. 8-9. Huelsenbeck also wrote (Ibid, pp. 61-62) of sound poetry: This is probably one of the many manifestations in our time of the primitivistic tendency, I am reminded of the rediscovery of Negro art, the drawings in the caves of Altamira and Lascaux, the rediscovery of children's art, folk art, and so on. All this is in line with an aesthetic and moral renewal.

6. Tristan Tzara, Primele Poeme/First Poems, translated by Michael Impey and Brian Swann (New York: New River's Press, 1976).

7. Recordings made by Hausmann in 1946 of five sound poems which he wrote between 1918 and 1919, were first published on disc in OU by Henri Chopin, No. 26/27 (Sceaux, 1966). There was also a film made of him performing his works, which was shown during the Hausmann retrospective at the Groupius Gallery in Berlin in 1994. There is an extensive catalog for the show, Raoul Hausmann 1886-1971 (Berlin: Berlinische Galerie, 1994). Hausmann was to be invited to the first International Festival of Text-Sound Composition Festival in 1968, but was too ill to travel to Sweden.

8. Raoul Hausmann, "Optophonetics," [1922] translated by Jean Chopin, Sensorialite Excentrique, (Cambridge, England: Henri Chopin and his Collection OU), p. 64. Also, Hausmann give a brief outline of the history of Optophonetics in "The Optophonetic Dawn," translated by Frank W. Lindsay, Stereo Headphones No. 4, Spring (Suffolk, England: Nicholas Zurbrugg, 1971).

9. Kurt Schwitters, "From MERZ 1920," pppppp: POEMS PERFORMANCES PIECES PROSES PLAYS POETICS, edited and translated by Jerome Rothenberg & Pierre Joris (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993), p. 218.

10. The German Expressionists were heavily influenced by F. T. Marinetti's manifestos on Futurism. Expressionistic poetry expressed "innermost alchemy of the word" and the environment of a poet's mind. One of the more experimental of the Expressionistic poets was August Stramm who was unfortunately was killed at an early age during World War I. Stramm made use of a bizarre fragmentation of language which approached psychosis, with his radical use of word-patterns, neologisms, puns, onomatopoetics, and pure sounds. He produced a poetry that was one developmental step before the Dadaist phonetic poem, and would have probably created such poetry if he had not been killed. However, his surviving works had a significance influence upon the development of the Dadaist poetry. A few of his works plus a short description of his influence, can be found in Modern German Poetry 1910-1960, edited by Michael Hamburger and Christopher Middleton (New York: Grove Press, 1962). Richard Huelsenbeck also wrote a short essay on Stramm's influence upon his poetry and the poetry of Ball, Schwitters, and Hausmann in, Memoirs of a Dada Drummer, edited by Hans J. Kleinschmidt, translated by Joachim Neugroschel (New York: The Viking Press, The Documents of the 20th Century Art, 1974 [1969]), pp. 123-126.

11. Kurt Schwitters, "My Sonata in Primal Sounds: Explanation of the Symbols 1927," in pppppp, p. 235. Another useful book on Schwitters is Werner Schmalenbach's Kurt Schwitters (New York: Abrams, 1967). The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris held a large retrospective between November 20, 1994 and February 20, 1995, and for which there is an equally large catalog, Kurt Schwitters (Paris: Éditions du Centre Georges Pompidou, 1994). A recording of Schwitters performing the 'Ursonata' was recently found under curious circumstances, and was digitally restored and released on a CD, Kurt Schwitters, Ursonata (Mainz, Germany: WERGO Schallplatten WER 6304-2, 1994).

Other popular and useful books on Dada include:

The Central Office of the German Dada, The Dada Almanac, edited by Richard Huelsenbeck, Berlin 1920, English edition by Malcom Green (London: Atlas Press, 1993, Atlas Arkhive One).

BLAGO BUNG BLAGO BUNG bosso fataka! The First Texts of German Dada by Hugo Ball Richard Huelsenbeck Walter Serner, edited and translated by Malcom Green (London: Atlas Press, 1995).

Dada Performance, edited by Mel Gordon (New York: PAJ Publications, 1987). Contains works by Ball, Hausmann, Tzara, Schwitters, Picabia and others.

The Dada Painters and Poets, edited by Robert Motherwell (Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., second edition, 1981).

Dada Spectrum: The Dialectics of Revolt, edited by Stephen C. Foster and Rudolf E. Kuenzli (Iowa: The University of Iowa & Coda Press, Inc., 1979). Contains a detailed bibliography and several essays. Of particular interest here is, "The Semiotics of Dada Poetry," by Rudolf E. Kuenzli, and "Towards the End of the Line: Dada and Experimental Poetry Today," by Nicholas Zurbrugg.

Hans Richter, Dada: Art and Anti-Art (New York: McGraw Hill, 1965).

Willy Verkauf, ed., Dada: Monograph of a Movement (London: Academy editions & New York: St. Martin's Press, 1975)


Last Modified 23 January 1998