Within the context of literature and performance art, dada was way beyond its time.  The theories of chance, anti-art, and the role of the artist are explored in these mediums in some of the same ways that they were in the visual arts.  The performance aspect of dada is also highly political as mentioned in the Politik section of the page.  Included with this link are a few pieces of dada poetry, along with a dada play or two and on top of that a picture of Hugo Ball in costume for one of his poetry readings.

Poetry And Writing

These two pieces are dada poems that were created by the authors of this page using the instructions provided by Tristan Tzara in his piece “how to make a dada poem”.
A Dada Ransom 
Collaged by Nick Ragan

That race- quick/doomed, 
Abuse can park boyhood
After still how supply giants
Win America
Over leagues he is. 
Manager Brewers’ Food lived in open
Determined varsity
Still drinking, ramification

St. Petersburg
Collaged by Jacob Beck

Longer days, facades, years, Neva River, 
A city of giant potholes,
Festival, around the summer this faded imperial city
All one man’s whirlwind, 
Crowds gather on the banks, 
With music filled, fill with tourists and at the venerable thing.
St. Petersburg with a pretty face
Valerie, solstice, columned world’s most,
Those long nights bring to this gritty city,
When the long nights, then hitting his stride.
High culture, low wages, alone, 
The limelight on Dickensinian squalor, thriving
Seven years ago, mundane maybe the seats, theaters, streets
With shabby hotels, vague, ramblings
Sun dips out of sight
A few hours at the stars, opera
Czarist palaces, conductors, artistic, sought after…


Emmy Hennings

We pull ourselves toward Death with the cord of hope.
Ravens are envious of the prison yards.
Our never-kissed lips quiver.
Powerless solitude, you are magnificent.
The world lies outside there, life roars there.
There men are permitted to go where they like.
Once we also belonged to them.

And now we are forgotten and presumed dead.
At night, we dream of miracles on our plank-beds.
During the days, we move along like frightened animals.
We mournfully look out through the iron railing
And have nothing more to lose
Than the life God gave us.
Only Death lies in our hand.

The freedom no one can take from us:
To go into the unknown land.

(Translated by Mel Gordon)


Exerted from a play by Roger Vitrac


Mr. Patrice, what do you bring in your shoes?

Elephants under the palm trees.

And what about that lion looking at us?

That, my child, is liberty.

And what about the automobile, is it for us?

It is unbreakable and deep.

Are you giving us some new perfume?

Take these birds.

The first child is the son of the bakery horse, while the second is the offspring of his mother's sewing machine.
The third, father of a colonel in the Zouaves, shoots the other two, then remarks to Patrice,
"What do you expect, Papa, I was the father of a colonel of Zouaves by accident,
but I will always be the son of love."

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