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Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
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Poet
    (July 12, 1874-December 15, 1927)
    Born in Swinemunde, Germany (now Swinoujscie, Poland)
    Birth name was Elsa Hildegarde Plötz
    Married Baron Leopold von Freytag-Loringhoven (1913)
    Dadaist artist, sculptor and poet
    Artworks include 'Portrait of Marcel Duchamp' (1919) and 'Wheels Are Growing on Rose Bushes' (1921)
    Poems collected in 'Body Sweats: The Uncensored Writings of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven' (2011)
    She occasionally supported herself as a prostitute in pre-WWI Berlin.
    She married the Baron without having divorced her previous husband.
    She made outfits out of found objects, such as wearing a birthday cake (with lit candles) as a hat, a pair of tomato soup cans for a bra, shower curtain rings for bracelets, and putting postage stamps on her cheeks as beauty marks.
    She was frequently arrested for public nudity and for stealing the objects she used in her outfits and her sculptures.
    She shaved her pubic hair in a short film by Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray.
    She offered to 'share' her syphilis with William Carlos Williams, saying it would clear his head for poetry, and became so persistent that he took up boxing to fend her off.
    Most of her poems went unpublished until well after her death.
    Her father was physically abusive.
    Her Baron husband absconded with her modest savings to return to Germany.
    It was said that she 'leaped from patrol wagons with such agility that policemen let her go in admiration.'
    She may have given Duchamp the idea for his ready-made sculpture 'Fountain.'
    Ezra Pound admired her poems and lambasted the literary establishment for ignoring her.
    Her poems were described as 'far more daring than those of her male counterparts.'
    Duchamp said, 'She is not a futurist. She is the future.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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