BY TRISTAN TZARA
June 1, 2018
In Noontimes Won (Octopus Books), here translated by Heather Green, Tristan Tzara floods the pages with a torrent of images. In this translation of Tzara’s 1939 collection, in cosmic imagery beside communist imagery, we see Tzara’s peripatetic mind haunted by the death and destruction he’d witnessed in Madrid and elsewhere in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Unpunctuated lines move like gears, one phrase turning into the next in a relentless forward motion. By contrast, the voice, at times halting and desolate, is made of a profoundly human doubt:
"I sang I bit the hook / of what I know."
SELECTED ONLINE POEMS AND MORE
TRANSLATIONS OF TRISTAN TZARA'S POEMS
Guernica: "Speaking Alone"
Verse Daily: "Civil War Song"
Poetry Daily: "Search"
Almost Island: "On the Spot," "To the Birth of the Shadow," "Walking Horizon," and "Search"
Asymptote: “Snatched from the River,” “Civil War Song,” “Cash on the Nail,” and “On the Threshold”
Blackbox Manifold: “Villains”
PRAISE FOR NOONTIMES WON
Review by Olivia Lott, in the Kenyon Review online
Recommendation by Robert Pinsky, in Ploughshares
GUIDE TO THE HEART RAIL
BY TRISTAN TZARA
Artwork by Pete Schulte
Originally published in 1935 with engravings by the artist Louis Marcoussis, "Guide to the Heart Rail" represents a startling lyrical treatment of eros, melancholy, and art. Tzara co-founded the art and literary movement Dada, collaborated and fought with the Surrealists for many years, and always put his wit, voracious imagination, and dedication to unraveling (or further entwining) the eccentricities of language towards a prolific life as a creator. With drawings by Pete Schulte and positively alive translations by Heather Green printed accordion-style, "Guide to the Heart Rail" is a vital contribution to the English-speaking world from one of the most influential and under-represented (in English) writers of the twentieth century.