Word As Such is not a new idea, but derived from the Russian Futurists writing in the early nineteen hundreds. The poet Khelbikov and his contempories devised the theory of Word As Such or "laying bare the device." "In order to revitalize their obsolete language, the new poets scorned any idea of literary fame and thumbed their noses at public incomprehension and committed themselves to increasing the volumn of the poetic vocabulary with the aid of arbitrary, derived words." (Sound familiar, anyone!) This statement lay the basis of ZAUM, a transmental language made up of words that were either wholly invented or derived from existing roots. In addition, their manifestos claimed to "cease the view of structure and pronounciation in accordance with the rules of grammar." Zaum was an answer to the problem (as they perceieved it) that "speech and thought cannot keep up with the experience of inspiration" and the artist must be "free to express not only in ordinary language but personal language."
Meanwhile, in a different part of Europe, a young lady named Gertrude Stein was working hard to form her our version of "zaum" or way of making the language new. Stein, never one to be shy about tooting her own horn writes of "a rose is a rose" (which some might not realize is actually from her children's book "The World is Round) "Now listen! Can't you see when language was new - as it was with Chaucer and Homer - the poet could use the name of a thing and the thing was really there. He could say 'O moon, O sea' and the moon and sea and love were really there. And can't you see that after hundreds of years had gone by and thousands of poems had been written, he could call on those words and find they were just worn out literary words. Now listen, I'm not a fool! I know in daily life we don't go around saying is a...is a...is a... Yes, I'm no fool, but I think in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry in a hundred years." Here, she is setting the path for poets such as Palmer.