Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Exquisite corpses and the politics of Surrealism

Helena Lewis wrote an excellent book called Dada Turns Red: The Politics of Surrealism, in which she goes into a thorough analysis of the history of Surrealism's politics. Towards the end of the book, on page 173, she makes an excellent case for Surrealism, writing that:

"The Surrealists, in their collective and anonymous art forms, succeeded in creating an anti-elitist art that acquired a new social meaning. Their belief that talent is irrelevant and that everyone has creative potential in his [sic] unconscious, could be a perfect vehicle for a truly revolutionary art. That the official art of a Party dedicated to revolution should be merely an adaptation of a nineteenth century bourgeois aesthetic is an irony that has become increasingly apparent."

I love this quote an in fact, I am thinking of making it into postcards or t-shirts or something that I can give out at readings and at classes. This is the impetus behind the exquisite corpse, which is a group-created poem, and the reason that I use them so much whenever I can.

I am publishing some in Karawane and I am going to publish some on the blog as well, both that are in the journal and some that are not. This is one that is not, that we created on June 19th. Someone was reading poems by Gerard de Nerval, Baudelaire, Poe, etc., and so I included some words and lines in my part when it came my turn, just using parts of the line I was hearing at the time. (That is also Surrealist and avant-garde inspired!)

Escape west to find yourself
and young men to lose themselves
never to be forgotten always to be remembered
the cries of the children lost in the night.
O' sacred moonlight scatter not fearful of the noise
that arose out of the stars, monsters roaring on their hind legs
soaring above their hideous selves reaching eyes outward
reaching, touching the sun, burning his fingers
he nearly died from the heat
desperate salvation and horizon mirages.

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