Poetry Prompt: Unpublished Fragment

Hannah Höch

This post is part of a series of weekly found poetry prompts. If you have an idea for a found poetry source, email Senior Poetry Editor Beth Ayer.

…the music cannot end without cutting up the fragments of beauty into yet smaller pieces and beginning over again.

From the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writer’s House comes Jacket2 Reissues, an archive of digitized literary journals and magazines… or, found poetry nirvana.

This week’s prompt: erase, cutup, remix, or otherwise rearrange the text below (page 22 of Secession no. 1, July 1922) to create a poem.

About the source text: “Secessionfounded in 1922 by Gorham B. Munson, sought to give corner to the ‘youngest generation’ of interwar modernists. Printed at various junctures in Vienna, Berlin, New York, Florence, and Reutte (Tyrol), Secession nevertheless became an important platform distributing literary Dadaism to New York.” The journal ran through two years and eight issues, all of which are available on the Jacket2 Reissues website. The source text below includes a Tristan Tzara text translated to English, followed by a poem by “Will Bray”(the nom de plume of co-editor Matthew Josephson).

Secession reissue

Top image: From Hannah Höch (German, 1889-1978). Cut with the Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany, 1919-1920, flickr.




  • November 30, 2013


    Uncertain Men in a Cafe

    Uncertain men measure their patent
    leather slippers twice a day. They
    telephone their sweet secretaries
    to crab that the chowder in town is
    cold, that flies are common, and God,
    thank you very much, is done with
    false compromises over the music
    in a café you are going to leave.

    The emperor has no white gloves
    and the brains of the beautiful English
    secretaries are expiring of ennui.
    Let us have no living dead, no eyes
    hard and grass-green as chlorophyll.

    Shut up in Spanish towers, you and I
    rescussitate with Parisian chocolate.
    What passes for us for happiness
    in life (and travel pictures): the ardent
    men who know to how to telephone
    a bird who might well want a light.

  • December 2, 2013

    Cathy D.

    When the Eyes Transcend

    When the eyes transcend
    and I shall throw you into the river;
    my plane has no wind no grass,
    my dear Tzara;
    let us have done with the purity.
    You are a sweet girl
    and I shall leave you for a moment.
    I believe in neither common sense
    nor paradox —
    What said, my friend?
    You do not believe;
    it is too bad.
    The dusk expiring,
    so much beautiful —
    I shall leave you for a moment
    and I shall throw you in the river.
    The finale of the symphony is hard.