Art History Surrealist Love Poems

ISBN 13: 9780226098715

Surrealist Love Poems

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9780226098715: Surrealist Love Poems

Love poetry includes, yes, descriptions of the beloved. And images of a fantastic idyll complete with falling stars, the sound of the sea, and beautiful countryside. In the hands of Surrealists, though, love poetry also includes gravediggers and murderers, dice and garbage, snakeskin purses and "the drunken kisses of cyclones." Surrealism, the movement founded in the 1920s on the ashes of Dada's nihilism, embraced absurdity, contradiction, and, to a supreme extent, passion and desire. From André Breton's battle cry of "Mad Love" to the quiet lyricism of Robert Desnos, Surrealist writers and artists obsessively expressed the permutations of that fundamental human state, love, and they did so with the vocabulary of the natural and unnatural world, the explicit language of sex, and a great deal of humor.

Surrealist Love Poems brings together sixty poems—many of them translated into English for the first time—by Surrealists who charged their work through with all forms of eroticism. Within these pages you will read the magnificent love poems of Desnos, which rank among the greatest in twentieth-century poetry, and hear the voices of lesser known "poets" such as Salvador Dalí and Frida Kahlo. Poems by familiar Surrealists such as Breton, the movement's leader, and Paul Eluard join work by Octavio Paz and Philippe Soupault. Interspersed with the poetry are photographs by Man Ray, Lee Miller, and Claude Cahun. Expertly and energetically translated by Mary Ann Caws, this collection seeks to demonstrate the truth of Breton's words, that "the embrace of poetry like that of bodies/As long as it lasts/Shuts out all the woes of the world."

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About the Author:

Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, English, and French at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Among her many books are The Surrealist Look: An Erotics of Encounter and Dora Maar—with and without Picasso: A Biography,and Picasso, a new volume in Reaktion Books's Critical Lives series.

Review:

"Erotic, impassioned and necrophilic, the sixty works gathered in Surrealist Love Poems celebrate the idea of obsessive and transformative love. 'I want to sleep with you side by side.... Stretched out on your shadow / Hammered by your tongue / To die in a rabbit's rotting teeth / Happy' writes Joyce Mansour.... Caws places poems by major surrealist writers like Andre Breton and Paul Eluard, along with the poetry of Picasso, Dali, and Frida Kahlo, side by side with fourteen lushly printed and alluring black-and-white photos by the likes of Man Ray, Lee Miller, and Claude Cahun." - Publishers Weekly "If you just... said 'That's enough, I must buy this book and read it aloud to my beloved under the sheets, at whatever the price'... you'd be in good shape.... These poems, and Caws's condensed history of surrealism, provide a wonderful reminder of how powerful and necessary are the voices of the irrational.... These are exotic recipes for a strange feast." - Cary Tennis, Salon"

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Published by University Of Chicago Press (2002)
ISBN 10: 0226098710 ISBN 13: 9780226098715
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Mary Ann Caws (Editor)
Published by University of Chicago Press (2002)
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Published by University of Chicago Press (2002)
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