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Francis Picabia

Francis Picabia (1879-1953), painter and poet, was a leading figure in the Dada movement.

Titles by This Author

Poetry, Prose, and Provocation

Who is with me is against me.—Francis Picabia

Poet, painter, self-described funny guy, idiot, failure, pickpocket, and anti-artist par excellence, Francis Picabia was a defining figure in the Dada movement; indeed, Andre Breton called Picabia one of the only "true" Dadas. Yet very little of Picabia's poetry and prose has been translated into English, and his literary experiments have never been the subject of close critical study. I Am a Beautiful Monster is the first definitive edition in English of Picabia's writings, gathering a sizable array of Picabia's poetry and prose and, most importantly, providing a critical context for it with an extensive introduction and detailed notes by the translator.

Picabia's poetry and prose is belligerent, abstract, polemical, radical, and sometimes simply baffling. His early poetry, with its uncompromising disregard for literary convention and readerly expectation, seems to anticipate Dada; His Dada manifestos are alternately engaging and insufferable. Picabia's later poems are more troublesome critically, given their wholesale borrowing and manipulation of Nietzsche. I Am a Beautiful Monster painstakingly documents Picabia's hitherto undocumented appropriations from Nietzsche's work.

For too long, Picabia's writings have been presented as raw events, rule-breaking manifestations of inspirational carpe diem. This book reveals them to be something entirely different: maddeningin their resistance to meaning, full of outrageous posturing, and hiding a frail, confused, and fitful personality behind egoistic bravura.

I Am a Beautiful Monster provides the texts of all of Picabia's significant publications, his books Fifty-two Mirrors, Poems and Drawings of the Daughter Born without a Mother, Purring Poetry, Unique Eunuch, Yes No, Chi-lo-sa, Thoughts without Language, and others, all presented complete, many of them accompanied by their original illustrations.

More poetry from Picabia:

IN ORDER TO LOVE
SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO
HAVE SEEN IT OR HEARD IT

FOR A LONG TIME YOU BUNCH OF IDIOTS

[...]
I saw me
onion soup
cracked like a gong
big discount
[...]