Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Posthuman Dada Guide by Andrei Codrescu

I count myself among the lucky ones who can finish a Christian historical romance and The Posthuman Dada Guide in the same day and still retain my sanity!

I will usually snap up anything having to do with Dada ever since I studied it in grad school. It was actually a class on the era of the little magazine and my classmate and I had the good fortune of being assigned to Broom. Don’t worry, most people have never heard of it.

I had my first taste of Dada then and fell in love with it. It doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t stand for anything. It takes no side but its own. It would be offended that I’m trying to label it with a description.

It was a movement of artists, writers, poets, and thinkers rebelling against the Great War, any other movement, and itself. In The Posthuman Dada Guide, Andrei Codrescu ponders the beginnings of the movement and its infiltration of daily life through a hypothetical game of chess between Tristan Tzara and Lenin. This is not done in any roundabout way that I can sum up for you. I will only say that if you like literary, philosophical, contemplative essays, give it a whirl!

One of Tristan Tzara’s favorite poetic methods was the cutup: to take a newspaper/magazine article or a page from a book, cut out the individual words and put them in a hat, then write the words down in the order he drew them out. At Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, the group would pick two members to read two different poems at the same time while someone played loud, discordant music. I love these guys! I would love to have been one of them. I like things that are out of sync with the world around them, and that certainly describes Dada. This is a book I’ll definitely have to add to my personal collection!


Kenny P. said...

Oooh, that looks good! I love Dada.

Holley T said...

It is v.v. good and last Thursday I did buy my own personal copy!

Kenny P. said...

It's on my Amazon shopping list... I just need to finish the current book (or at least get closer to the end) before I order it.

I try not to let as-yet-unread books pile up on my nightstand, but I don't do very well.