01. Hans Arp: Embroidery (Image)
02. Tristan Tzara: Note 18 On Art
03. Francesco Meriano: Walk
04. Marcel Janco: Woodcut (Image)
05. Alberto Savinio: A Musical Vomiting
06. Oskar Luthy: Madonna (Image)
07. Hans Arp: Woodcut (Image)
08. Tristan Tzara: Song of the Cacadou
09. Marcel Janco: Relief A7 (Image)
10. Tristan Tzara: Countries See White
11. Tristan Tzara: Jump White Crystal
12. Enrico Prampolini: Woodcut (Image)
13. Nicola Moscardelli: Plumes
14. Marcel Janco: Construction 3 (Image)
15. Tristan Tzara: Marcel Janco
15. Hans Arp: Woodcut (Image)

Hans Arp Embroidery


during an exhibition of prints, embroidery, and reliefs, in the Galerie Dada
(4 —29 May 1917)

Behold: Art is the only creation completed in and of itself, and so rich is it in vitality, direction, and wisdom, nothing we could say about it would ever do it justice.

Try to describe a flower — poetry is more or less a paper flower.

Until we have stripped bare the intimate vibrations of the last brain cell from the mathematical godmind, and manage to develop an exegesis for the primal astronomies, art's essence will always be as impossible for us to describe as the infinitely contradictory logical elements of the uselessly ringing swamp of stars.

Fire-bellied toads squashing out the cold astral lights with the ambition of their descriptive intellects.

But what has been written on art is educational, and in this sense interpretation still has a purpose. We want to make men better, to make them understand that the only fraternity is a moment of intensity, that life is beauty concentrated at the height of a wire rising towards the trembling blue brightness, magnetically bound to the earth by our loving eyes, which are like snow covering a peak.

It's a miracle.

I open my heart to the idea that man is better.

A number of artists today have ended their search for answers inside of the material and the concrete and have turned their gaze outwards into relationships with more abstract concepts like the cosmos or ancient and primal wisdoms.

They clench their fists around the crystal fountain of freedom and the water erupts to form new, clear organizations, and to purify the entire world with the secret materialization of a single hidden image formed.

They continue the tradition of the past and push it slowly through the serpentine path of evolution with intergenerational impact far beyond the surface of reality.

pulled in by the Leopards1 you smell the rancid breath of concentrated tomato extract from the endlessly exploding vaccuum like a feast of rays / fireworks dying and being reincarnated into lighting and frogs
faded colors of sunset
a disenchanted flag
a putrid smile
Cecco Becco2 dies every night
with awkward and humorous convulsions
Dada the last magazine
the final parade of the universe

1. A reference to Giuseppe di Lampedusa's controversial Il Gattopardo, which is commonly mistranslated as "The Leopard." Don Fabrizio, a character in the book, compares himself and his fellow blue-bloods to noble "leopards" and compares the new rising class to "jackals" and "hyenas."
2. Cecco Angiolieri was a misanthropic poet from Siena. "Becco" can mean "goat" or "beak," most likely used here because of its derivation from the verb "beccare" which means to "pick at," in the way that a person who is eating something they don't like will "pick" at their food, or "pick on" in the sense that people "pick on" each other.

Marcel Janco Woodcut


we are counting how many of us there are
good evening to you Mr. Janco
to you Mr. Tzara
one thousand1
honestly Marinetti, flee to the stars
where the battleships don't explode like pasta / giant spinning tops
celestial ocean liner
endlessness and our
Leopards will drag you by your foul feet.

1. "The Thousand" is a group of revolutionaries in Il Gattopardo.

Well educated in chivalry,
,,mr. delightful, and
always to women ... the perfect companion
wiser and more courteous than a beautiful woman.
i have not yet managed to succeed in holding back the hiccups of nausea whenever I find myself face-to-face with Euterpe.1 My stomach is still recalcitrant to the company of the noises of art, their mere presence provoking in my bowels the same effects and consequences as the highest pitch of childhood swing-set dizziness.

It's true that poems and paintings will sometimes lead us astray; but music — always — leads us astray.

Music was developed slower than, and started its development long after, the other two art forms, but despite these generous handicaps it has managed to shoot past its predecessors in its wheelchair, to its death, full of stupidity and misconception!

A single mind has yet to be discovered amongst practicioners of music. I confess, without breaking a sweat, to a natural aversion to everything related to the musical world. Thanks to rigorous training I now easily resist any titillation that would otherwise arise from agreement with a song or melody.

1. Euterpe is the Greek muse of music.

O. Luthy's Madonna


Anything that has to do with this decrepit and evil art plunges me into the most wretched despair.

And I have researched each and every kind of writing on the subject: Jules Combarieu's "Histoire de la Musique" was especially painful to read. It's embarrassing to imagine myself in the shady living-canvas of the music-makers.

One evening, just before I fell asleep, I recklessly opened a book on music. The silent serenity of my solitude was poisoned in that most precious hour, and I was tormented in my sleep by visions of obscene anguish and distressing misery.

I kept this experience to myself, but ever since that night I've been haunted by these nightmares, sacrificing countless hours, futilely trying to distract my mind from the horrors with happy thoughts. I spend so much time distracting myself from the terror that at the end of each day I hardly have enough time left to brush my teeth.

As it is, music is the fool's art; a graphic depiction of immoral bourgeois perversity: the art of vice. More odious than pity, it sucks its hosts into its arms — not only the widow and the orphan, but all of the rebels and all of the cursed.

Shrewdly consoling flawed men, all of those with a heavy conscience: music is a cancer in the souls of all the destitute and the damned.

An art that glorifies and encourages the worst instincts and qualities of the horde: an impudent mirror of all the obscenities in this lawless and depraved world.

Two moments in my life stand out that provoked in me the most intense and unspeakable disgust: The first took place when I was only a child. I was a kitchen boy and a cruel bloodthirsty cook had me saw through the neck of a baby duckling. The second was a night in my teenage years, when a German melomaniac convinced me to attend a sort of theatrical orgy in which the turpid sounds of M. Richard Strauss took the place of sexual debauchery.

In its current state music is an insult to the dignity of any citizen, aristocrat, bourgeois, or proletarian, no matter how honest or well-groomed they are, regardless of their state of affairs.

The charm of harmony is the most severe attack against the honor of the free man. Among the main causes of crimes of degeneracy we must place music at the top of the list — well before alcohol!

Dense populations of people: the stupid, the ignorant, the dirty, the sick, the degenerate; all enter the Temple of Music at home. There they are — truly — at home because therein lies the sacred rites of a cult that has within its reach of all of the miseries of the most repugnant spirit: it's a socially accepted, government-sanctioned rejection of humanity.

Hans Arp Woodcut


Once I forsook my imprudence for the seductive trappings of the vulgar herd — alas, too few years separate me from this miserable era! — Painful reactions were inevitable. I was overwhelmed by remorse - and I had not even slept with Aspasia1!

I blamed myself, I felt guilty, I bent under the weight of my sin. The grin of lustful bestiality had been wiped from my face, I lost myself in sorrow, I bowed my head in shame until I was in the fetal position like a beast who had just joyously come.

Post coitum animal triste est!2

1.Aspasia was a woman in Ancient Greece that the comic poets of old used to ridicule to make statements about the Greek government, especially Perikles, who fathered her bastard child out of wedlock. Savinio seems to be playing off of the common "joke" that Aspasia was some sort of Ancient Greek hooker or brothel-keeper, which may or may not actually be true.
2.A play on the Latin proverb "Post coitum omne animal triste est" or "All animals are sad after sex." He just dropped "omne" or "all" and is talking about one animal, the animal music made of him.

excerpt from a volume of poems translated from the aboriginal Aranda tribe by Tr Tzara

the branch tips definitely point here

here seeds mingled with bullets definitely rise from the hole that was dug rise heaps piles rise thousands of piles rise

clusters clusters arise
heaps heaps arise
great masses rise
deep pile rise
great heap arise
to one cluster pour

sprouted seeds sprouted seeds
sprouted seeds coated brown
sprouted seeds coated brown
sprouted seeds want to rub
sprouted seeds want to lick

round one atop the hills of sand
the round one on the sand

the pods are there
with whipped scars
there are so many at rest in the fields of pods
with stinging teethmarks
they are planted in single file

,,bite true, oo white cacadou
eat lots and lots, really, oo white cacadou,,.

Marcel Janco's Relief A7


to maya chrusecz

10 hours of gold have broken the deathly sorrow
a charred window into soft white and gold
separating the good from the waters with squares of leather
attached with a pin to a cautious fish

cook the golden eyes of an insect
i am the awful vibrations of the heat
in the beatings of its striated heart

and its bones are the spoons of your soul
but we want to reconstruct
the green underwater porcelain echoes
sleeping in the skull

that haunt little ones onwards, into the wails
cut - by the stretched tempo of the wails
cup - ever-so-slowly, the source of the sound
go on, little ones, into the wails
a tiny flame in the chalice
and the little ones go onwards, into the wails
continue, little ones, into the wails

to marcel janco

with a needle
sewing the tattered summit
scatter the fragments of darkness
watch the yolk flow
your heart is an eye in a rubber box
string it onto a necklace of eyes
and stick postage stamps on the eyes

horses from Norway converge
around the drying jewels
would you? cry?
follow the path to the voice with your tongue

E. Prampolini Woodcut


Abraham pants1 in a mess of disarray2
tobacco fermenting in his bones
Abraham wheezes in disorder
piss in his bones
the running horses have light bulbs instead of heads
climbing climbing climbing climbing
blue3 archbishop4 you're making an iron prison5
and hehehe hehehe

1. "Abraham" is probably a religious reference, and the verb "pousse" could either mean "grows" or "arouses" or "shoots" or "pants like a dog." The word for "wheezy" or "out of air" is "poussir," a derivative of "pousser," and since the lines that follow describe a somewhat unhealthy state, I used "pants" and "wheezes."
2. "Cirque" could mean "circus" or "colisseum" or when describing animals it can mean "disorder" or a "chaotic state." Since I interpreted "pousse" to mean "pants" which is only the case when it is used to describe an animal, I decided to take the same route here. I think Tzara is disparaging the figurehead of Abrahamic religions by relating him to an animal?
3. In France, "blue" budgets are budgets that are proposed by the government, and "green" budgets are budgets proposed by parliament. A "blue" archbishop could also be a "new" archbishop, and "green" can be interpreted to mean "new" as well.
4. The "archbishop" he is talking about is probably Eugenio Pacelli, who would later become the subject of John Cornwell's book, "Hitler's Pope."
5. "Violon" is slang for "prison."
6. "Chiffres" means numbers, figures, calculations, statistics, etc.

(To Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco, alien poets from a distant earth.)

Your eyes are stragglers like stray butterflies on curved flowers resigned, because they have heard on their cottony backs the first tremulous caresses of the wind, faint plucking hopscotch touches, hotter than a breath of wet earth: -- and your hair and the tiny crystal azure sky, already shivering from the cold, fall and spread out like the crumbling spring: -- and your hairs are blossoming into roses with scornful thorns. Poor flowers forsaken by your season! (Is there hidden somewhere between shoulder and shoulder, hidden somewhere beneath your clothes, a tap to the well of your passion?)

Where will the pale face rest but in the wandering cyan horizon nearing the window sill with one thousand feet of fresh fleets of rain? Where will the pale face rest but in the trampling of thousands of small fragile things that burn at the low heat of eyes that close prisoners into precious hands?

It is night and not night: if the butterflies and the flowers of spring, posing impishly, dissolved in your hair: you would be so heartbroken that you would never bloom again. There are roofs trickling with melancholy that have been washed over with a hot breeze of love - and a blonde curl that lingers over your temple, thin and light as an empty blue vein.

All six senses drained of blood and futureless: a distant moon in search of a lost season, you're wandering after the scent of a forgotten kiss.

But if your terrified eyes, distracted by the bitter envy of the forsaken, were opened for long enough, I would tap into your abysmal perspective, looking deeper than any of the depths ever plumbed, and I would draw on your fragile porcelain cheeks a beach, a mountain, a lake, a cypress, and one flower; give you a mirror and a heart, or the love of the highest balcony and the furthest, most remote garden.

M. Janco's Construction 3


But it is not night and night: and the words fall so wearily that it misleads you into a new rain of feathery flowers of wind.

Close your eyes, and sleep your sleep eternally, child.

zig zags of nerves
a cosmic harmonica draws a line drawn through foliage and pauses
in the black light, the warm egg, with sick joy, takes its time cooking just for you:
art is the stable and sensible, serious account of times, sheets, and points
immutable necessities in fantastic arrangements
great dynasty
brilliant commandments
he makes sculptures surface until they are made of layers of corpses
and employed the wire to draw through space (for the first time)
the upper part of construction 3 exhibits his wire trembling with life
sensitive moon / seahorse somersaulting beneath the ocean
he makes reliefs to be built into the wall
in whole architectural protest against pre-existing frameworks and the baroque
continues the tradition of pure art after 5 centuries of syrupy reveries
specializing in raw reality without external influence or compromise
i call naivety a vision of joy in the heart
in the painful memories of blood
in the painful souvenirs of iron of disease
of stone
the falling sparks of potential
of soldiers and of the flaming pieces of furniture
crying out throughout the passing centuries
having fostered throughout the passing centuries
this bitter rusted religion
this crystal and complex order of the elite rich
never to change, never to decompose: the halcyon order in control of all reality
a captured image: with raw untainted materials:
surfaceless colors in the form of a line
the conflicting mechanics within this volatile order
a tree of bones rubbing humanity with match-stick fingers
through vastly divided dimensions in grand stripes and bands
where the probes and the smoke are brushes and beams of crystal
that dissolve as they move

H. Arp Woodcut


For the record, I have no idea how to speak French or Italian, which is what most of these poems were written in. I went through an extensive process of scouring the earth for information about each individual word, using uncountable amounts of dictionaries and online translators, until everything seemed alright.

(There are likely some inaccuracies. One of my friends, who speaks French fluently, was kind of enough to look over the first magazine's translation. I haven't gone through and made the corrections he has suggested yet, but he said that I was very good at pretending to understand French, and that everything was pretty much fine beyond a few problems with tenses.)

I was looking around for more of these artists' works, and I had a hard time finding translations. I did manage to find some collections of literary journals and magazines, though, that appeared to have not yet been translated. I figured that if I was going to go through and try to read and interpret these myself, I should share my work with others so that they could do the same with less effort. If you have any suggestions on how I could make these translations better, or more accurate, please contact me.

Email: (me [at]

Hopefully you had as much fun going through these as I have had creating them. I'll definitely be working on more translations in the future, so check back often.


If you would like to use any of my translations for your own website, or if you would like to reproduce them in any way, please contact me.