Full text: Secession (Number one) (1)

17 
to the bodily necessity he has so cleverly understated 
and Rabelais, Cervantes, Mark Twain (in „160T‘), 
Huysmans and Apollinaire have made varying use of 
it, Bray invades subject matter that most people and 
most poets would condemn as unsuitable for literature. 
Yet Bray saw a certain humorous significance in the 
occasion which he conveys to us by rhythms, invent 
iveness and adroit evasions. We can perceive his loyalty 
to his stimulus, note the manner in which this loyalty 
has been made concrete, and experience an esthetic 
satisfaction from the solution of his problem. 
In sum, criticism says to the other arts: Use any 
subject you wish. My concern is in the state of mind 
you create with it. 
Another poem printed here, that by Tristan Tzara, 
will assist in developing this conclusion. (I do not, at 
present, vouch for the bulk of Tzara’s activities but 
he has written several indubitable poems.) In this poem, 
Tzara contrives an abstract* organization. He departs 
altogether from conventional coherent intelligible sub 
ject material and gives us instead a controlled series 
of physical sensations. The effect is as unalloyed with 
intellectual and extra-esthetic reactions as those of 
music or cubist painting. Yet it cannot be defined in 
terms of musical or painting criticism nor very well 
by literary criticism since that is lamentably weak in 
its own esthetic vocabulary. Tzara’s word arrangement 
approaches mathematics. (There is some reason for 
believing that the ecstasy arising from the solving of 
a complicated mathematical problem is very much akin 
to the esthetic emotion.) What he does here is, by 
means of words, to make a pattern of sharp arrest, 
dead calm, rising motion, developed calm, progress, 
spreading out, contraction and final collapse that 
leaves us physically satisfied. And emotionally satisfied. 
His is an abstractness as devoid of idea-emotions as 
music or painting can be but still belonging very < 
definitely to words. 
Satisfying as this is, it nevertheless causes speculation 
upon the depth, solidity and interior organization of 
* Abstract, like romantic and realistic, is an indicative finger 
for certain readily perceived phenomena, but not a precise de 
fining term.
	        
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