Friday, December 01, 2006

UNIVERSAL WAR

In tonight's classs we'll read Alexei Kruchenykh's "Universal War," written in 1916, during World War I (which began in Sarajevo) and look at Max Andersson and Lars Sjunnesson's Bosnian Flat Dog, a nightmarish comics satire taking place in Sarajevo at the beginning of the Kosovo war.

You can order a copy of Bosnian Flat Dog from the publisher, Fantagraphics, here. (Scroll down.)

You can read Universal War, originally published in Kruchenykh's Suicide Circus: Selected Poems (Green Integer), below:

ALEXEI KRUCHENYKH
from “UNIVERSAL WAR”
(Jack Hirschman, Alexander Kohav & Venyamin Tseytlin, trans.)

Universal War (1916) was a hand-made book produced in an edition of 100 copies, each copy varying slightly from the others. A slim volume, it consists primarily of twelve abstract collages combining brightly colored fabrics and translucent papers against a dark blue background. The “text” is limited to a table of contents of sorts: under a general title (“universal war will occur in 1985”), there is a list of titles or captions for each of the collages, many of them followed by a poem of single words printed in a column. Universal War also includes a brief preface in which Kruchenykh suggests that the collages are not mere illustrations, but are of equal importance with the poems, claiming that “they were born of the same impulse as transrational language,” and thus drawing a parallel between zaum poetry [see other side of this sheet] and non-objective painting. –Jack Hirshman

[Note: “typos” below are intentional.]


UNIVERSAL WAR

the universal war will occur in 1985

Page 1—battle between futurian and ocean
squinty
kisk clank
took titday
trash
mulligrubs clench
sin
djerry
mnose

Page 2—battle between mars and scorpio
appetite pegasus
appendicitus
grabz
chachen
respact
herself
female
tuningfork

Page 3—explosion of trunk
with the queue full of whips
cuts the stone with vengeance
hil ble faes
och fi ge

Page 4—battle with equator
snarling
suspants
spirit
ear
the shaught of life

Page 5—betrayal
rubbish-hall marseillaise
in a billiard pocket
of the hall
zi-ti
chi-pi
po’ noseless hump of asia
farina

Page 6—destruction of gardens

Page 7—battle between india and europe
drove
toughguy
fluff
so
the kid
mind
rat
unshoeing the armchair

Page 8—heavy cannon
corkscrew for destiny
onions of alcoven album
a cover of swanny snout
tender smell of victuals
drunkenness via rotten vodka
a hole of joy rose up

Page 9—germany in heat

Page 10—germany in ashes
donkey
ant
nightengale
muse
’owever
anonym
questionnaire
lungairy
street-cookers
wedlock
manufacturer
chawsable
roseable
goatable
a truck

Page 11—a request of victory
from a beardo
breaking kiosks
to disembowel chocolates
hepatichka
little bladder
hummocks

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