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  • Irina Moga

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

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 what?

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

Passcode: q1ccdm

Photo credit: Galerie AMF

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