Prague, Celan, Dada

The Prague International Writers’ Festival is in full swing today, with a big international reading tonight that includes Gary Snyder, A.B. Yehoshua and Pavel Reznicek. The festival, which started on saturday & goes on until wednesday, has been going on for many eyars, starting in the UK way back & moving to Prague after the Iron Curtain came down, well, went up for keeps. The Brirish newspaper The Guardian is still deeply involved and spnsored some of the events. This year’s version of the festival (here is the full schedule of events) is centered around Dada-East, and, as the announcement puts it, about:

the secret history of Dada, bringing the Cabaret Voltaire in the form of an exhibition: “The Romanians of Cabaret Voltaire”. The Festival will expose unsociable, naked Czech Dada through the unknown figure of Walter Serner, debate non-violence versus terrorism, while wondering if “thought begins in the mouth” as podcast by Tristan Tzara. Dada was the first version of globalization, not counting Spanish flu.

From the heights of despair to paradise now, tradition begins with me.

We announce the fusion of ecology and non-violence.

“If not now, when?”

From here to eternity “I dig, you dig, the worm digs too.”

That last line, “I dig, you dig, the worm digs too,” is from apoem by Paul Celan, who did indeed spend some time in the Romanian capital right after WWII, and wrote some surrealist-inspired work there. I am not certain however that the line “I dig, you dig, the worm digs too” (which is in fact the motto of this year’s festival) can be read as dada. That use elaves me somewhat uneasy. And yet, maybe it does work, given that the old dada strains are linked up to contemporary questions of political terrorism and ecology (thus Snyder and Doctorow, for example).

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1 Response

  1. Prague Hotels says:

    The Prague International Writers’ Festival is really a great event and it’s interesting for people of deferent ages. Everybody can find what he prefers in literature.

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