Who Is Mr. Tzacatzac?
…and the next question might be: “Why bother to find out?”
Mr. Tzacatzac, a fictional character, appears in a short poem by Tristan Tzara included in his poetry collection “Twenty-five Poems by Tristan Tzara.”
Let me start with some background information.
Tristan Tzara (1886-1963) is one of the founders of the Dadaist movement in literature and visual arts, an artistic current that caught the public's attention in 1916.
His poetry, written in a manner that aligns with the Dadaist movement's values, breaks free from traditional writing: words aggregate on the page with no "storyline" − as if simply dictated.
The poem “dance rubber glass,” translated by me (below), gives a good idea of Tzara’s writing style and its poetics:
dance rubber glass
disease darkness to bloom into matches in our bodies to freeze
me touch me touch only me a snail climbs on an axis white country
the wind wants colorless wants wants shivers wants
who who yes wants
mister tzacatzac parasol break break ice slips
sir a nut of ink makes a noise the flower- postage-stamp
Mr. Tzacatzac’s apparition, albeit mysterious, becomes easily explainable if one takes the time to go through the entire book – available at Gutenberg.org.
In quite a few poems in the book, we read about trains and voyages; the name Tzacatzac is derived, in this writer’s opinion, from the sound trains make on rails, an onomatopoeic effect borrowed from Romanian words.
By the way – Tzara inserts other words in Romanian in the book.
Therefore we can deduce that Mr. Tzacazac (or tzacatzac as written by Tzara) is someone who travels by train – perhaps an alter-ego of the poet?
Ok - so that is that, we sorted out how the name Tzacatzac/tzacatac found its way into literary pages.
Now, I invite you to my poetry reading on Sunday, Aug 29, at 2 pm EST, where I will be reading poems that cross paths with surrealism and…UFOs.
Poems about UFOs? Yes, UFOs are a topic in vogue…once more after quite a few decades.
Here are the zoom co-ordinates – I hope that you can make it.
Topic: All About Mr. Tzacatzac
Time: Aug 29, 2021 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 831 0802 2340
Photo credit: Galerie AMF