Famous dada painters include Marcel Duchamp whose “Fountain” is nothing more than a urinal but makes an intelligent and,in some ways, humorous observations about modern society in the 20th century; an Jean Arp who created “Leaves and Navels.” Dada writers include Tristan Tzara and Kurt Schwitters; and now we can add to the ranks Peter V. Dugan with his new book Eulogies for Dreams.
There isn't much absurdity in the vivid word images painted by Peter V. Dugan, but there is that rebellion against the status quo. For example in Oasis of a Chaos Theory, Dugan describes the following scene:
“anemone gladiators spew verse
recite odes of gun-part malaprops
while the sharp edged co-anchor
co-authors unveil a wired vat anthem
of misnomer ear candy epaulets...”
The words alone remind me of one of Kurt Schwitters' sound poems. The mouth forms each and every sound and the voice automatically changes tones, forming a kind of song. Yet,the words alone , without looking into meaning, are chaotic.
There are anemone flowers of which there are many species, and sea anemone. The anemone gladiator is one who is fighting to stay alive, just like nature. He is the poet ,who,as the verse tells us, tells us the truth while the media puts a spin on everything so everything sounds more appealing,even war. After all wasn't it Plato who stated “poetry is closer to the truth than history?” That's because the poet captures the whole, while others only capture minutiae.
Perhaps the “oasis” spoken about is the simple fact that the words flow. Perhaps, it's that it makes the reader re-think the chaos theory, or, still, perhaps it is that each reader will find a different meaning in the poem, and spark conversation, as art always does.
Peter V. Dugan contemplates what our conceptions of art are, especially the art of the written word. Poets have a way of presenting words and phrases that have double and sometimes triple entendres. This is present in Dugan's work in passages such as “It's Totally Art” and “Query.”
The cento is one of the most favorite forms of poetry for poets to play around with. Poets take lines from other poems, and sometimes from prose, and put together their own poem. Often they cite their sources (just like any good research paper would) in endnotes or footnotes, or on the very next page. In “Petite Mort (or Birthing a Poem),” Dugan uses lines from Yeats, Ginsberg, Whitman and many others, to create an image of a poet and a poem, and hidden inside the poem, the reader.
Beware, reader! There are gnomes in Peter V. Dugan's head, a sentiment you will not understand until you read this book, and it is recommended that you do so! Eulogies for Dreams is a true work of dadaism, and is well written. It will take the reader's imagination on a journey of thought.
You can buy Eulogies for Dreams and other works by Peter V. Dugan on http://www.lulu.com