Surrealist Love Poems

Surrealist Love Poems

by Mary Ann Caws
     
 

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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

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Erotic, impassioned and necrophilic, the 60 works gathered in Surrealist Love Poems celebrate the idea of obsessive and transformative love. "I want to sleep with you side by side.... Consumed by ecstatic mad inertia/ Stretched out on your shadow/ Hammered by your tongue/ To die in a rabbit's rotting teeth/ Happy," writes Joyce Mansour. City University of New York comparative literature professor Mary Ann Caws places poems by major surrealist writers like Andr Breton and Paul Eluard, along with the poetry of Picasso, Dal! and Frida Kahlo, side by side with 14 lushly printed and alluring b&w photos by the likes of Man Ray, Lee Miller and Claude Cahun. ( Feb. 14) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226098722
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
01/01/2006
Pages:
120
Sales rank:
1,238,722
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet 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.

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