'Il y a des zigzags sur mon âme': Artistic Relations and Poetic Reworkings in Tzara, Arp and John James

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This essay explores the intertextual links between Hans Jean Arp, Tristan Tzara and the Welsh poet John James (1939-2018). It focuses on the themes of portraiture, translation and agglomeration, closely linked to each other, and united notably by the trope of the zigzag. The final section, devoted to alterations, versions and inversions, examines aspects of Dada poetry that still fascinate us today. James not only inserts German words into his poems in the English language, but also incorporates modified fragments of some poems by Tzara and Arp into his 1973 collection Letters from Sarah, whose title is also a veiled tribute to Tzara.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Return of DADA / Le Retour de DADA / Die Wiederkehr von DADA
Subtitle of host publicationVol. 1: Dada Filiations
EditorsAgathe Mareuge, Sandro Zanetti
Place of PublicationDijon
PublisherLes Presses du Réel
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-2-37896-208-1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2022


  • Hans Arp
  • Jean Arp
  • Tristan Tzara
  • John James
  • Dada
  • French poetry - 20th Century
  • German poetry - 20th century
  • English poetry - 20th century
  • Avant-Garde
  • experimental poetry
  • Translation
  • Bilingual writing
  • translingual poetry

Cite this