For the opening of DadaglobeReconstuctedlast night at the Museum of Modern Art (NY), I performed “Teke Heart” by Else Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven (as she bills herself on the holograph ms) (1874–1927). I performed it in the gallery next to the ms of the 1921 poem, sent to Tristan Tzara for his never-published anthology Dadaglobe.
‘The Baroness cut the most compelling modernist figure. She literally wore New York dada, thus inventing it as a pattern of aesthetic costume to be worn so tight that it was her skin, her self. She was, as Irene Gammel puts it in this remarkable biographical study, an “assemblage of paradoxes embodied in one body.” That the Baroness knew and inspired or inspiringly repelled nearly everyone associated with the rise of modernist practice in New York has been already part of the story, but it has never been so richly detailed. In Gammel's presentation the Baroness emerges as far more than an ingenue. She became a mature, self-conscious dynamic artistic force — and remarkably productive in her own right, not despite but because she exhausted herself up from the inside out.’
Given the amount of activity Toronto poet, editor, critic and professional triathalete Suzanne Zelazo has been involved with over the past decade, one can understand why we haven’t seen much in the way of new poetry from her since the publication of her remarkable first trade collection, Parlance (Coach House Books, 2003). Editor-in-Chief of the late, lamented literary journal Queen Street Quarterly (1997 – 2005), she held a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at Ryerson University under Irene Gammel, exploring experimental writers and poets including Mina Loy, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven and Florine Stettheimer.
“Why should I — proud engineer — be ashamed of my machinery?”
In her poem “The Modest Woman,” published in the modernist literary magazine The Little Review in 1920, the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven derides the prude and celebrates the female body and modern form.
This is a long, awaited, much-needed collection of the exuberant and enthralling poetry of the great American Dada poet "Baroness" Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. The book is a sumptuous collection of poems and images, as much art catalog and text collection. And Irene Gammel tells me there are still significant uncollected poems, which I hope can be brought together in a web archive.