Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), inventor of his own personal branch of Dadaism called "Merz," is best known for his collages and for his monumental constructions called Merzbau. But Schwitters’ stated goal was "to erase the boundaries between the arts" — he said his poems were "a kind of drawing" while his collages "demand to be read."
This collection, culled from five volumes of Schwitters’ writings published in Germany, introduces the total work of art that is Merz via Schwitters’ words rather than images. Included is the complete text for the "Ur Sonata," which, as renowned poets/editors/translators Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris comment, "is to sound poetry what Joyce’s Ulysses is to the twentieth-century novel."
Winner of the PEN Center USA West Literary Award for Translation
"The Trojan war cannot have been as full of incident as one day in Schwitters’ life. When he was not writing poetry, he was pasting up collages. When he was not pasting, he was building his column, washing his feet in the same water as his guinea pigs, warming his paste-pot in the bed, feeding the tortoise in the rarely used bathtub, declaiming, drawing, printing… and in the midst of all this he never forgot, wherever he went, to pick up discarded rubbish and store it in his pockets." — Hans Richter