Dada (Fragment #018)

I marched towards the library and collided with Patrick near the main entrance. I remembered this boor. He was an assistant at my entrance examination. I decided not to waste time greeting him and just passed on by.

The 20th century German literature section wasn’t a very popular place. Well, good riddance! It was much better to work without the silly background chirrup of girls writing endless nonsense about heroic troubadours and sighing over modern guys who’d forgotten the art of courtship.

Anyway, I figured I should get to work, so I thumbed along the high stacks looking for the letter ‘T’. Gotcha! Tristan Tzara, ‘Seven Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries’.

“Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article of the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that makes 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.”

So, professor, you didn’t like my poem? I giggled at the thought. I’ll learn how to break something that was already broken. Let’s dada, baby! And suddenly, my attention was drawn to some other voices. They sounded pretty tense. I cocked my ear.

“I need this book!”

“The rules are the same for everyone. You can only read it in the reference room. This book mustn’t leave the library.”

“But…”

“No.”

I peeped out of the stack and looked over to the counter. A disappointed Patrick was talking with the library custodian, a large leather bound book clutched to his chest. Serves you right! I thought with gloating delight.

I’d always considered the ‘Codex Seraphinianus’ to be a bit of a joke. I didn’t think anyone of stable mind could ever truly take it seriously. My eyes flicked across Patrick’s sad features again. What a putty head!

Anyway, I needed to care more about completing the task at hand.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

Wordy Mikado (Fragment #017)

I stowed the wreckage of the broken poem in my pockets and dragged myself to my room. It was there that I shook out this mishmash, onto the little table in the corner, and I fell to thinking how it could be rearranged into a new poem. Some lines stuck out awkwardly here and there, and I suddenly recalled how in my childhood I would play Mikado. This flashback was so quick and so bright that it slashed through my mind like a lightning bolt.

We preferred to play with fine aluminium wires, not with woody sticks. We bent the ends of the wires into loops, hooks, and waves. This made the game more difficult because every move had to be executed with surgical precision. (By the way, I’d heard of a variation of this game that was part of the professional practice of pocket lifters.)

I found myself mindlessly poking my finger into the pile of words. My angriness fumed away. The professor’s voice echoed in my head: “And don’t spoil such precious words for glamorous bullshit.” We played with literal junk when we were children, and we did it with style. Why should I fuck with such high class stuff now?

I pulled out a long, shiny wire from the pile and smiled. I knew what I needed to do. I accurately stowed all the wordy bits into a little box and went to the library.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

GUEST POST // This Way to the End (A Review of Mario Savioni’s New Book by Marta Pombo Sallés)

Our Dear Readers, today’s Guest Post is an unusual one. Instead of our typical literary frippery we shall present to you a review by Marta Pombo Sallés of Mario Savioni’s new book ‘This Way To The End’.

As we all know, writing is hard work. Anyone who has tried to write a poem or essay (or even just a shopping list) can attest to this fact. You put your soul into your writings. You literally pour yourself out onto the page. That’s why we’re often a bit sceptical towards so-called literary critics and their sometimes rather dismissive reviews. In other words, breaking is not making, and criticising is not creating.

But we hope you’ll believe us when we say that writing good, professional literary criticism is an art, and that critiquing a poem sometimes takes no less effort than to write the poem itself. A really good review makes you empathise, makes you feel and think, and most importantly it makes you want to read the thing that it’s critiquing. In fact, Marta’s reviews are in a class of their own. It’s clear that she immerses herself in a book before she offers her thoughts. It’s a considered approach that we wish more reviewers would take.

But that’s enough of us for now. We should make way for Marta and Mario. Bring it on, guys!

Tati & Tony

 

 

I loved reading this book. I just find it fascinating, feel wrapped up in it, think, feel and taste every poem and short story which I see as being mainly about the individual’s eternal search for truth and beauty. I think this would be the central topic of the book as we start to read each and every poem and short story. We see how this search is very difficult in a world full of greed, wars and where love relationships do not last. As readers we are made aware that this happens because such relationships are usually based on the needs our capitalist system has created as opposed to animals’ nature, for instance, the way a family of chirping birds acts, the bird mother protecting the little birds and doing this simply out of sacrifice. The images of the chirping birds appear on several occasions as an ideal to attain which seems not to be possible in human life. That is not how love relationships work nor how an elderly mother ends her last living days, nor how one gender abuses the other, nor how a few very rich people rule the world and allow the rest to suffer from poverty and modern enslavement in a dehumanized society where Alfa people, such as Aldous Huxley showed in his novel Brave New World, are the only rulers. Truth and beauty are seen in poetry and in art like paintings. Many poems are beautifully written as the reader feels like being in front of the painting itself, everything makes us aware of the real truth of a dehumanized society in decline. I think the author wants us readers to react in front of that. He wants us all to be truth and beauty seekers. This is a powerful message of hope as expressed here:

“We have dreams,
Like a painting,
We are majestic,
Always unique, if careful”

This is the link to the book if you want to buy it, and this is Mario Savioni’s blog.

 

by MARTA POMBO SALLÉS
© All rights reserved 2018

Testing, Part #2 (Fragment #015)

It was like talking to a brick wall. I elevated my voice slightly.

“Hey, four-eyes!”

Yuck. Not only is he blind, he’s deaf too… I was considering poking him with a ruler when I heard a semi-cough right above me. Again.

Any questions, young lady?”

“No, Sir.”

Question 2a: Define a metrical foot used in the following poem.

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
He had seven coats on when he came,
With three pair of boots—but the worst of it was,
He had wholly forgotten his name.

He would answer to “Hi!” or to any loud cry,
Such as “Fry me!” or “Fritter my wig!”
To “What-you-may-call-um!” or “What-was-his-name!”
But especially “Thing-um-a-jig!”

1) Trochee
2) Iamb
3) Anapaest
4) Dactyl

Question 3a: What isn’t a forme fixe?

1) Qasida
2) Glosa
3) Sequence
4) Tanaga

I looked around helplessly. No help was within reach. Well… if plan A doesn’t work out then I have to use plan B. So, I gave a shit about that, and began to select answers at random.

The blank space below question 1a was very much in evidence, and my inner perfectionist demanded satisfaction. I knew it was better not to argue as this thought would be like a pebble in my shoe—it would hinder and annoy. I wrote something like, “Prompt at five o’clock, I busted a snaplock, and walked around town in a candy-striped nightgown.”

Then I hesitated over where an adverb of time should be placed in an English sentence. Damn. At the start? At the end? Without philosophizing, I repeated the first line at the end. If need be, I could say that I was nervous and forgot to cross out the wrong line.

With a feeling of satisfaction at a job well done, I turned in my paper and left the amphitheater. I felt a roaring hunger.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

Enormous, Disgusting, A-Hundred-Maws and Barking

Dear Patrons (current, future, and not-on-your-life), we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes on our next big project. Sure, we like pretending we’re two wags who couldn’t give a hoot about our responsibilities, but that simply isn’t true. In fact, we’ve been sweating over a few things, and are determined to please you with at least three new books this year!

(Yes, we’re hopeless optimists who cannot accurately count the number of hours in a day. Sometimes it’s twenty-six, and sometimes it’s only nineteen. Anyway, we won’t give up. Tick tock tick tock…)

Today, we want to show you a cover idea that we had for our first project which will be a new poetry collection. We were all fired up over this idea, but when Tony put it together, we quickly realised that it wouldn’t be a good fit and discarded it unanimously.

However, you needn’t think that the image itself was pure crap. (Of course, we wouldn’t be offended if you did.) Take a look over at our Patreon page. Form your own opinion. And don’t worry, entry is free and the exit is too. If you’re curious to see what the cover for our new poetry collection WON’T be, then scratch that itch!

(Yup, this is another pathetic attempt to lure you to our Patreon page and panhandle for more pelf.)

PS: Please feel free to blame the title on Tati. She tried to explain to Tony about Чудище обло, озорно, огромно, стозевно и лаяй but he was way too busy to listen to her. (Actually, he was just being a little dense, but let’s not tell anyone about that!)

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018