The Fist of Fibonacci

An Interactive Poem Project for MetaDada

by Rhonda Pettit and H. Michael Sanders

Image01-Fist of Fibonacci


“Golden Numbers with Line by Jack Spicer” is a poem based on the well-known Fibonacci sequence of numbers, in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. This pattern of numbers occurs repeatedly in nature, with the stabilization of the ratio between numbers reaching .618 to 1. Many have believed that this ratio, known as the Golden Section, represents a way of arranging parts to each other and to the whole of a piece in an aesthetically pleasing way. Modern artists, musicians, architects, and poets have applied this ratio to their work.

Image02-Fibonacci Diagram

In our poem, we applied the sequence to the number of lines in each stanza. Rhonda Pettit started with a borrowed line by poet Jack Spicer (“Imaginary Elegies I”; the remaining lines to be original). H. Michael Sanders followed with another single line (1 + 0 = 1) stanza; Rhonda responded with a 2-line stanza (1 + 1 = 2), etc. The writing is largely improvisational, drawing on the spontaneous aesthetic they used in their collaborative work for the Gaps & Overlaps exhibition at the UC Blue Ash College Art Gallery (

Image03-Fibonacci Numbers on Paper

How long will they be able to keep it up before the poem metastasizes into stanzas consisting of hundreds and thousands of lines? How long before the Fist of Fibonacci pounds these hapless poets into mute, slowly settling layers of dust?


Golden Numbers with Line by Jack Spicer
by Rhonda Pettit and H. Michael Sanders
srednaS leahciM .H & titteP adnohR

Fist of Fibonacci – Installment 1 Published on February 25, 2016

Poetry almost blind like a camera

An image resolves in the gap between impulses

Rises to tone untangled from chord and rends
all dissonance, consonance, chemistries of stance

Buzzing like hot insect breath in the ear canal,
calcifying jellied membranes into photo emulsion
through which visions arise and faintly flicker

to sweep and to swap such mechanical indignities
as numbers always dictate, lodging here and there
like tics between follicles, for the space
filled with meaning i-chinging possibilities
with exposed surfaces and supposed persons (O, Emily!)

I can hear the phone ringing but can’t find it…
where is that damn thing and who keeps calling me?
then the phone stops ringing and it’s so very quiet,
so quiet that I begin to hear my heart beating and
the rhythm of my blood surging through my arteries…
where is that damn phone and why is it so quiet,
why doesn’t it ring, why isn’t anyone calling me?
why do I keep asking these questions of myself?

Fist of Fibonacci – Installment 2 Published on March 04, 2016

Because poetry almost deaf like a phone keeps calling
all the unlucky numbers, keeps dialing with its thumbs
the image transmissions of words and music we need
in these our times trying hard to be and knot. Be. Cause
poetry almost hard and shiny as a plastic case (or a case
of plausibilities) reflects what it sees through its thorn-
colored glasses and ouch! what we wouldn’t give for
vision so sharp, for a series of sharp visions, for serious,
Sirius-less visions. Because poetry almost free as the ag-
gregate that used to be your driveway and far more
sharp and colorful when it’s lodged inside your shoe
is on the ball and better than a cell phone a bell tower a bell
curve. A blister not a diamond is a supposed poem reaching

Peering intently into the thick and blistering darkness,
thumbs resolutely thrust into raw, bulging eyes while
familiar voices ring hollow – as empty and wooden as a
napping ventriloquist’s dummy face down on the stage –
teeth chattering in odd rhythms that can only be followed
with fugitive and transitory attention without any thought
or meaningful intervention into the thinning, ephemeral
mist condensing into rivulets of sweat stinging the eyes…
fuzzy edges embedded in glib, transient interpretations
trapped in the slow, inevitable process of disappearing
into languorous foetuses emerging directly from the hot
entrails of the poet, issued singing the diabolical songs of
charlatans with tongues of flame flapping like loose sails…
thoughts, ideas and words transformed into cheap tourist
souvenirs and dropping like fat sausages into a cosmic
conflagration swirling into the fine royal jelly of bees…
transfixed by breathing and formulating urgent plans for
childhood while wearing the deep, red scars left as tracks
by the ticking clocks of history… still ticking… ticking…
with minutes before the alarm goes off to betray the faith
in silence [                                                                        ]

To be continued with the next Metadada update…



Next Time, You’ll Know Better


MetaDada Broadside No. 4

I know that you have come here today to hear explanations. Well, don’t expect to hear any explanations about Dada. You explain to me why you exist. You haven’t the faintest idea… You will never be able to tell me why you exist but you will always be ready to maintain a serious attitude about life. – Tristan Tzara, “Lecture on Dada” (1922)

Profile 2: HANS (JEAN) ARP (1886-1966), Founding Member of the Zurich Dada Group


Art is a fruit that grows in man like a fruit on a plant or a child in its mother’s womb. –Hans Arp

Hand-Engraved-RHans Arp was born in Strasbourg, Alsace, situated in contested territory between France and Germany. He was given both French and German names at birth by his parents: Hans Peter Wilhelm and Jean Pierre Guillaume, and grew up fluent in both languages. He studied art in Strasbourg and Paris, and later founded Moderner Bund to exhibit Swiss modern art.

In 1912, Arp’s drawing were published in the Blaue Reiter Almanach (Blue Rider Alamanac) by the Expressionist group led by Vasily Kandinsky. Kandinsky was a strong influence on Arp, both as a visual artist and a poet. Arp also at this time became an exhibition organizer and reviewer for the journal Der Sturm (The Storm). Arp fled from Cologne to avoid the draft as war erupted, and made his way to Paris. There he was under suspicion of espionage and was ultimately forced to leave the country. Landing in neutral Switzerland and facing conscription, Arp pled mental illness.

As one of the founders of Zurich Dada, Arp illustrated almost every important book of poetry and journal issued during the period with his distinctive abstract imagery. He eventually began artistic multi-media collaborations with Sophie Taeuber, whom he married in 1922. In their “duo-collages,” they sought to “approach the pure radiance of reality” by avoiding the human influence of personality. He later turned to “earthly forms” of nature s an antidote to the horrors of WWI. Arp’s philosophical and psychological interests reflected his spirituality; based on chance and the subconscious, spontaneity was achieved à la Dada. In the late 1920’s, he applied nature’s cycles to sculpture, for which he later received many awards and commissions.

Arp died in Basel, Switzerland in 1966, 23 years after his wife, Sophie Taeuber-Arp. -MEKHand-Engraved-L

Arp-In Studio

An Interview with Matt Bennett by Betsy Keefe

Marcel Duchamp- Fountain, readymade (1917)
Shi Xinning: Duchamp Retrospective (2000-2001)

February 15, 2016

Matt Bennett is the Associate Editor of MetaData and WordPress Tzara for the journal’s web presence. In this role is also active in the organization of the upcoming Dada Lives! exhibition at UC Blue Ash Art Gallery. His background is in art history and contemporary media, with a special interest in Asian art, film studies, and psychoanalytic theory. Matt is currently Assistant Professor of Electronic Media at University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College (UCBA).

Hans Arp- Shirt Front and Fork, painted wood (1922)

BK:       How did you become involved in the development of the Dada Lives! exhibition and creation of the new publication, MetaDada: The International Journal of Dada Mining?

MB:     I wasn’t involved in the inception of the ideas for these two related projects, but I had helped Mike [H. Michael Sanders] with the Tao of Photography exhibit at the UCBA Gallery. He asked if I’d help with the curatorial process, but mainly with the exhibition catalogue and his new journal, MetaDada. While there is some overlap of contents between the exhibition and the first issue of MetaDada, there are additional items planned for MetaDada that will not be in the exhibit and vice versa.

BK:       Were you always a Dada fan?

MB:     With a background in art history, I do have an interest in Dada. My particular interests are in the manifestoes and the premier artists, who are in my view, Hans Arp and Marcel Duchamp.

BK:       How do you interpret Dada thought and art?

MB:     Dada is a reaction against the widespread belief in the rationality of the world, which Dada artists saw as somewhat disingenuous against the backdrop of WW I and the frightening new levels of carnage unleashed upon ourselves. Rationality and historical progress didn’t describe the reality of the time, as in revisionist history.

BK:       The scope of this project is wide, and no doubt widening. What was your role in this process at the outset, and how has that evolved?

MB:     Professor Sanders asked me to be Associate Editor for the MetaDada, which has grown to include managing the WordPress site for the journal, involving both my technical and editorial writing skills. I’d worked with WordPress for my own blog and class assignments, and familiarity with WordPress makes it easy to manage and make materials available through social media versus the print Journal, which needs a lot of work to achieve Professor Sander’s vision of the issue a work of art in it’s own right. Roles are further evolving as the exhibit is now beginning to take shape.

BK:       What aspects of the project have been particularly challenging, beyond your many other gallery experiences.

MB:     Managing time is now challenging, as there’s a lot going on, including the personal challenges that often compete for attention with work on the journal and the exhibition itself. Promoting the projects is heavy responsibility right now, as is getting materials out in a timely manner. It’s all challenging, but well worth it.

BK:       What have you learned during this multi-faceted project?

MB:     I’m continuing to learn each day. I’ve helped with past exhibits, but every one is different, with these parameters different from those in the past. This project is also more sprawling: the WordPress site; the print journal/catalog; I’m starting to hear about live performances and a video program for UCTV… [sighs] so it’s more complex than past projects. I guess small projects prepare us for the larger ones. I am pleased to be part of an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Dada movement, and am excited that UCBA is stepping up to give Cincinnati a piece of the worldwide celebration.

Hans Arp- Etoile (Star), plaster (1939)

A Rrose


A Rrose
By H. Michael Sanders
with a tip ‘o the hat to Gertrude Stein

A rose is arose is a eros is a Rrose
or it is what it is, or it isn’t…

February 19, 2016

Hand-Engraved-RGertrude Stein’s original line, “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” comes from her poem, Sacred Emily (1913), which was published in her book, Geography and Plays (1922). This volume is available as a free eBook online from Project Gutenberg at

For a wild and wooly Dadaesque poetry experience check out Getrude Stein’s experimental volume of beautiful gibberish from 1914, Tender Buttons. Stein’s writing in this short, controversial book focuses intensely on the sounds and rhythms of words, rather than any concern about even tenuous connections to their possible referents in the world. This volume is also available as a free eBook from Project Gutenberg at


Profile 1: HUGO BALL (1886-1927), Founding Member of the Zurich Dada Group

Photo-BallHugo-Cabaret Voltaire Performance-1916

I don’t want words that other people have invented. All the words are other people’s inventions. I want my own stuff, my own rhythm, and vowels and consonants too, matching the rhythm and all my own. –H. Ball           (

Hand-Engraved-RBall’s lifelong search for philosophical meaning, borne of his strict Catholic childhood and adult rejection of modern language and its contexts (the politics of WWI among them) –  was represented by fellow founder, Richard Huelsenbeck’s claim that the two chose the term “Dada” from a German-French dictionary to imply baby talk.

Ball, formerly a theater director, established the Café Voltaire with singer Emmy Hennings, one of two female founders of Dada, as the venue for all manner of the group’s arts and entertainment.  Quite soon, however, he grew weary of the “increasing nonsense” among the members, and in 1916 withdrew to the Swiss countryside to recover from exhaustion. His latest in a lifetime of malaise was attributed to regression to his  traumatic childhood during his performance of his own genre, sound poetry, which catapulted him back to bleakness.  In 1917, against the proposed international growth of Dadaism, he left the group forever, and married Emmy Hennings three years later.  Soon and ironically, Ball also left his political fervor behind, to renew his Catholic connections. –MEK. Hand-Engraved-L


Marie Osmond recites Ball’s 1916 poem, “Karawane” on Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Dada Poems Wanted

06-Ad-Song Poems-Wanted-1916

MetaDada Presents Recent Translations of Five Poems by Emmy Hennings

Poems translated from the German by William Seaton


Hand-Engraved-RMetaDada No. 1 will include publication of five poems by Emmy Hennings, one of the original Zurich dadas, recently translated from the German by William Seaton. Seaton, author of Dada Poetry: An Introduction (Nirala Press, 2013), completed these translations subsequent to publication of his book. The volume features numerous other poems by Hennings, along with work by Hans Arp, Hugo Ball, and Richard Huelsenbeck. He notes that, “Hennings represents at once the swan song of an overripe German Romanticism and the furious explosive outburst of modernism.” Hennings’ poetry is an intense reflection of her personal experience, and her work is suffused with “a conviction of some intolerable derangement in things… linked with a nearly desperate eroticism, yet expressed with redemptive poise and precision,” as Seaton relates in his book (p. 47). MetaDada is delighted to be publishing these translations of verse by one of the Dada movement’s founding members. – MEK-HMS. Hand-Engraved-L

William Seaton’s Dada Poetry: An Introduction includes poems by Dada founders Emmy Hennings, Richard Huelsenbeck, Hans Arp and Hugo Ball, along with Seaton’s substantial introductory essay, “An Introduction to Dada.”


01-Dada for Women