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Marc Zegans: Dada, Cage and Burroughs – a review of Borrowed Words – cut-up poetry by Peter Wortsman

About 15 years ago now I was deeply immersed in concrete and visual poetry, dipping in and out of the Futurists, Surrealists and Dadaists and the joy of cut-ups (découpé in French). Periodically this concept enters the poetry film world as in the now famous and leading work by American Dave Richardson – Love’s River of Errors.

I was recently reminded of this historic technique by the highly knowledgeable and widely read Marc Zegans (www.marczegans.com), in his extraordinarily in-depth review of Borrowed Words (Bamboo Dart Press), by multi genre, far-reaching wordsmith New York-based Peter Wortsman www.peterwortsman.com.

Peter Wortsman reading from the book

I am keen to feature reviews on publications that focus on both word and image, (for the Word and Image section of this website).  So, it follows that with a deep respect for Marc’s turn of thought, I am delighted to share his recent contextual reading of this innovative chapbook, penned for the US-based Compulsive Reader (‘reviews of books by some of the hottest writers today’). Turning to the instinctive and tactile art of cut-ups also reminds me of how a simple process with text itself can prompt such a depth of discussion and thinking, and open up the author’s otherwise empty mind.

As Marc mentioned to me: ‘I place his fascinating small collection of poems in the context of several 20th-century art movements—Dada, Art Brut, and the chance operations of Cage and Burroughs. Peter’s book is a wonderful gathering of cut-up poems that he made during the pandemic and is well worth reading.’

Here’s the link for the review

See also:

Peter Wortsman reading from the book:



You can purchase the book here

And further information on the book from the publishers.