46 
Tzara at that time wrote the Vingt-Cinq Poèmes, which belong to the best 
in French poetry. Later we were joined by Dr. Serner, adventurer, writer of 
detective stories, ballroom dancer, physician specializing in skin diseases, and 
gentleman burglar. 
I met Tzara and Serner at the Odéon and at the Café de la Terrasse in 
Zurich, where we wrote a cycle of poems: Hyperbole of the crocodile-barber 
and the walking cane. This type of poem was later baptized “Automatic 
Poetry” by the Surrealists. Automatic poetry issues straight from the entrails 
of the poet or from any other organ that has stored up reserves. Neither the 
Postillion de Longjumeau nor the Alexandrine, nor grammar, nor aesthetics, 
nor Buddha, nor the Sixth Commandment can interfere with it in the least. 
It crows, curses, sighs, stammers, yodels, just as it pleases. Its poems are like 
nature: they stink, laugh, rhyme, like nature. It esteems foolishness, or at 
least what men call foolishness, as highly as sublime rhetoric, for in nature a 
broken twig is equal to the stars in beauty and importance, and it is men who 
decree what is beautiful and what is ugly. 
Dada objects are formed of elements found or manufactured, simple or 
heteroclite. The Chinese several thousand years ago, Duchamp, Picabia in 
the United States, Schwitters and myself during the war of 1914, were the 
first to invent and disseminate these games of wisdom and clairvoyance which 
were to cure human beings of the raging madness of genius and return them 
modestly to their rightful place in nature. The natural beauty of these ob 
jects is inherent in them as in a bunch of flowers gathered by children. Several 
thousand years ago, an emperor of China sent his artists out to the most dis 
tant lands to search for stones of rare and fantastic forms which he collected 
and placed on a pedestal beside his vases and his gods. It is obvious that this 
game will not appeal to our modern thinkers of the go-getter school, who lie 
in wait for the art-lover like hotel porters waiting at the station for guests. 
Are you still singing that diabolical song about the mill at Hirza-Pirza, 
shaking your gypsy curls with wild laughter, my dear Janco? I haven’t for 
gotten the masks you used to make for our Dada demonstrations. They were 
terrifying, most of them daubed with bloody red. Out of cardboard, paper, 
horsehair, wire and cloth, you made your languorous foetuses, your Lesbian 
sardines, your ecstatic mice. In 1917 Janco did some abstract works which 
have grown in importance ever since. He was a passionate man with faith in 
the evolution of art. 
Auguste Giacometti was already a success in 1916, yet he had a liking for 
the Dadaists and often took part in their demonstrations. He looked like a 
prosperous bear and, doubtless out of sympathy for the bears of his country,
	        
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