Poet, painter, self-described funny guy, idiot, failure, pickpocket, and anti-artist par excellence, Francis Picabia was a defining figure in the Dada movement; indeed, André Breton called Picabia one of the only "true" Dadas. Yet very little of Picabia's poetry and prose has been translated into English, and his literary experiments have never been the subject of close critical study. I Am a Beautiful Monster is the first definitive edition in English of Picabia’s writings, gathering a sizable array of Picabia’s poetry and prose and, most importantly, providing a critical context for it with an extensive introduction and detailed notes by the translator.
Picabia’s poetry and prose is belligerent, abstract, polemical, radical, and sometimes simply baffling. For too long, Picabia’s writings have been presented as raw events, rule-breaking manifestations of inspirational carpe diem. This book reveals them to be something entirely different: maddening in their resistance to meaning, full of outrageous posturing, and hiding a frail, confused, and fitful personality behind egoistic bravura.
I Am a Beautiful Monster provides the texts of of Picabia’s significant publications, all presented complete, many of them accompanied by their original illustrations.