Quentin S. Crisp states in his fine introduction to this strange book that the word `dadaoism' was coined by his co-curator Justin Isis as the pitch point for collecting works from contributors to Chômu Press - an anthology of works that push the boundaries of current literature, releasing normative bonds of writing practice. Conspicuous by its nonsense, the artistic and literary movement of Dada is kind of like The Fight Club. There is only one rule to follow: Never follow any rules. Dadaoism is the Crisp and Isis concept to attain `the literary and psychic equivalent of a tour around the edges of a dying galaxy in a spectacularly malfunctioning space vehicle, encouraging contributors to take your protein pills and put your helmet on, the results being for the most part an often challenging but ultimately rewarding collection of angst, anxiety, and alienation as conveyed in whimsy, wit, and wordplay.'
As Isis adds, putting a primacy on showcasing writers who `would like to create language which is like ... bared teeth. Perfection of such writing is not the end result....The stories in this book which escape boredom do so by corrupting their own forms, digesting themselves. Feel free to eat this book, tear out any pages which displease you, add corrections and emendations. Feel free, as always, to write lies in the Book of Life.'
What this bizarre book contains, then, is a collection of works that stretch the imagination and in doing so force us to think in different pathways than those to which we are accustomed. There are short stories, poems, and novellas that at times border on the absurd and at other times preach the absurd. In addition to the gathered writers, editors Crisp and Isis contribute some of their own work. Apparently the two writers wanted to explore in Dadaoism what happens when `two (or more) minds work together creatively, producing results that neither could produce alone. The result, greater than the sum of its parts, comprises a new and distinct entity, which is one avatar of the Dadaosim, a bustling and jostling chaos-butterfly whose dream wings, when they flicker, lenticular, show us a number of different panels in an endless folding screen.'
Prepare yourself for concentrated effort when you decide to enter this strange experimental world. Persevere and the rewards are plentiful! Grady Harp, May 12