Occupied City

Occupied City/Bezette Stad is one of the key anti-war works of the Dadaist movement. First published in 1921 as a work of ‘rhythmical typography’, it is primarily about the German occupation of Antwerp during the First World War. But it is also a love song to the modern city, and a declaration of war on post-1918 Europe. Designed and illustrated by the Flemish artist Oscar Jespers, this epic poem was originally advertised as ‘a book devoid of Biblical beauty / a book for royalists and republicans / for doctors and illiterates / a book that lists every important song of the last ten years / in short: as indispensable as a cookbook / “What every girl should know.”’

Cover image: Oscar Jespers



publisher, translator and typographer should be thanked for affording readers such a creative, meticulous and accessible edition of Occupied City.

Karlien van den Beukel, Filter

‘makes all those left-justified, neat, polite collections which win the prizes and get reviewed on Sunday seem as worn out as the seats of a call-centre worker’s trousers.’

Mistress Quickly’s Bed

‘David Colmer, backed by the unerring accuracy of Katy Mawhood’s typography, has produced a finely-tuned and very readable translation of this multilingual text... a century later this powerful;, lived political poem still resonates.’

Modern Poetry in Translation