This poem object is one of an edition of about twenty (although originally advertised as fifty) published by the New York Surrealist magazine VVV where Breton acted as joint literary adviser with Max Ernst.
The poem object was sold as part of a portfolio of eleven original works; etchings, frottage and objects by André Breton, Alexander Calder, Leonora Carrington, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, David Hare, André Masson, Matta, Robert Motherwell, Kurt Seligmann and Yves Tanguy. The portfolio was intended to raise money for further numbers of VVV.
According to a letter to the Tate from John Armbruster, the previous owner, each one of the poem objects was individually assembled by Breton who used different coloured papers and slightly varied the composition.
André Breton began making poem objects in 1929 and in the same year defined the procedure as: "Combining the resources of poetry and sculpture and in speculating on their reciprocal powers of exaltation (Jose Pierre (ed.), Dictionary of Surrealism, 1974)."
Breton explains his method of composition for a poem object in an essay of 1942 included in André Breton, Surrealism and Painting, London, 1972, pp.284–5.