Sound Poetry

Posted on March 4, 2013


Sound poetry is an arrangement of phonetic sounds; it is a literary or musical composition (or somewhere in between). Believed to be rooted from oral tradition, the writing of sound poetry is about the writing of sound. Different than poetry in print culture, sound poetry is composed primarily to be performed. In sound poetry, language is liberated from meaning and semantic values: the significance of the rules of meaning and structure in sound poetry is often neglected or minimized (or followed moderately with focusing on sound or vocalized aspect). Sound poetry satisfies the need of expressing subjective intention, anarchical fantasy and pre-language degeneration.

Fillippo Tomasso Marinetti (1876-1944)

Italian futurist poet.

Zang Tumb Tumb (1914)


“Zang Tumb Tumb” is a sound poem  in an account of 1912 the battle of Adrianopolis. The impression of the war is shown in this book through the use of typographic variations. The repetition of onomatopoeic words is used to express the sound and noise in the battlefield.

The book opens with Corrections of Proofs & Desires:

‘No poetry before us
with our wireless imagination
and words in freedom LOOOng live
Futurism finally finally finally finally finally finally finally
Poetry being BORN

Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971)

Austrian artist and author. Berlin dada.

Poster Poem

f m s b w t ö z ä u (1918)


Raoul Hausmann


Pitsu puit puittituttsu uttititi ittitaan

piet piet pieteit tenteit tuu uit

ti ti tinax troi troi toi to

Iti iti loi loi loioutiouto !

turulu tureli tur luititi

Gou-guiqu gou-guiqu

Psuit psouit psui uitti It

Loitiioito !

Prrn prrn qurr qurr nttpruin

tiou-tiou-iou Oui o’

Oui-oui lii lii lo’

Psuiti tipsru !

Troi ti ti loinax

Hausmann, R., Schwitter, K., Reichardt, J. (1986). Pin. Gießen: Anabas Verlag.


Kurt Schwitter (1887-1948)

German painter, sculptor, sound poet, author and designer.


Ursonate (1922-1932)

Fümms bö wö tää zää Uu,
                                                     kwii Ee.


dll rrrrr beeeee bö
dll rrrrr beeeee bö fümms bö,                                      (A)
     rrrrr beeeee bö fümms bö wö,
             beeeee bö fümms bö wö tää,
                        bö fümms bö wö tää zää,
                             fümms bö wö tää zää Uu:

“The Sonata consists of four movements, of an overture and a finale, and seventhly, of a cadenza in the fourth movement. The first movement is a rondo with four main themes, designated as such in the text of the Sonata. You yourself will certainly feel the rhythm, slack or strong, high or low, taut or loose. To explain in detail the variations and compositions of the themes would be tiresome in the end and detrimental to the pleasure of reading and listening, and after all I’m not a professor.” –Kurt Schwitter


Hugo Ball (1886-1927)

German dadaist poet and artist.

Karawane (1916)


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