Notes taken during Dean Young's surrealism lecture and none too legible either

Place is packed, folks on the stairs behind me
Ice blast a bus has pulled up or something
Can't see Dean, never see him, a voice only in a speaker
Sam intro, claims of bold, hilarious, heartfelt, playful, and combustible
Trevor beside me says once briefly looked through her journal,
passed around having Portrait of a Lady charting, was chastened,
Handouts now, applause

"Poem to Shout in the Ruins" by Louis Aragon
"Let's spit the two of us let's spit
On what we loved
On what we loved the two of us..."

Live life as a poetic procedure
Coherence not linear consistency
Written after one pointless war
Political obscenity
Radical dismemberment
Championing erotic value
Random happenstance
Actual functioning of thought
Perpetual revolt
Mind acting freely yields the marvelous
Must everything be advertising
How can recklessness be preserved
Breton: "to send men rushing into the street"
Nonrational reading of the world
Irregular system of signals, heretical, sexual
Not a mode of artistic production
The taint of literature
Social, political, economic revolution

Art is the result of surrealism
Wordsworth's mountainclimb
Wordsworth missed peak experience in the Prelude
Ejaculation, imagination, Romanticism
Dropped off the map
He and Coleridge share double task

Full monstrous flower of surrealism
Sam, pronounce this word for me
Learn by doing system
Sense sublime of
Do it on our own at
Romanticism is the prehensile tail of surrealism
Letters of the Seen

Man was not yet working on himself
Poetry will no longer give rhythm to action
Highness of casualty
Rimbaud sketch out principles
Identity will become plastic

If brass wakes up a trumpet it's not its fault

If old fools had
Poet will define the amount of unknown awakening in his time
The time of the monsters has come

Wardrobe (laughter) did he put on a mask can't see
World War I
Rube Goldberg machine
Blood and drunkenness
Red sweet wine of youth
English soldiers kicking a football toward the enemy
Objective muddles
Coughing like hags
Owen's Dolce
The great fuck-up, 60,000 mown down by machine guns
Government way of dealing: Be cheerful, be encouraging
Don't think you know better than the general

Sounds like Dick Cheney

Dada refused to do this
Pointlessness of life
Murderous hypocricy of the status quo
Name Dada means nothing, aims to mean nothing, was chosen for its absence of meaning
Collapsing constructive and destructive
To be Dada is to be against Dada
The right to piss in different colors
The big drum is brought in
Dada is the first great realism
World torn open
Mockery of its own claws
Monstrous collages in pasted together corpses from the front

"To Make a Dadist Poem" by Tristan Tzara
"Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article of the length you want to make
your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that makes up the article
and put them all in a bag.
Shake gently.
Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are -- an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd."

Craft of poetry, how to platitudes
Dada has it both ways
Use of uselessness, willful derangement
Duchamp found a coatrack, left it on his floor, people kept tripping over it so he nailed it to the floor
Self is accidental contruction of life anything else
Self is plagiarized

"Man Ray's Poem" by Man Ray
By God all the words are blacked out
Like a letter from Iraq, says Trevor
"In the interest of time I won't read this aloud"
All the different translations
Defeats ownership
Self-consuming confabulation of aesthetic judgment
Achieves opacity through blackness
Poetry is a form of encryptment
Achieved lucidity
Stands for everything defeated
All information is too sensitive
The poem at the end of all poetry
Dezoning the past
Culmination of a culture
Under Keats under Browning
A dark joke, a grave

Fraud of art
Suicide of ultimate theater
After a while even train wrecks become mundane
Breton sent to psychiatric center encountered astonishing images on a higher plane than occurs to us
Recklessness carried to extremes, a simulacrum
Bloody injuries were like makeup
Corpses might be made of wax
Mad vividness
Access to liberty
Measure of recovery
Secrets of insane Manifesto of Surrealism
Most important statement of the 20th Century and I missed it
Imagination: state of slavery
Experience itself circumscribed
Always for the first time
Constantly wrong in one's own life
Inability to love
Magical reactants
Imagination fundamentally erotic
Waking state: phenomenon of interference

Close our eyes and walk into walls
Dreaming is not inferior, is satisfying
Agonizing question of possibility
Surrealism: omnipotence of dream disinterested
Actual functioning of thought is absence
Exquisite corpses
Goal isn't production but change in consciousness
Breach in reality through trauma
Split wound marvelous greenhome
Prose and cons
Borne by the images which enrapped it
Day compared to it is night

Surrealism used after 9/11
Identity destabilized
Reimagining our role
Justin Timberlake popping open Janet Jackson's breast is not surreal, it is predictable
Chance meeting of umbrella and sewing machine on an operating table, spark flowing among them
Two objects brought incongruously together
As much field where those occur
Surrealism is the operating table

"Free Union" by Andre Breton
"My wife whose hair is a brush fire
Whose thoughts are summer lightning
Whose waist is an hourglass
Whose waist is the waist of an otter caught in the teeth of a tiger"

Always for the first time
The high point and the decline of formulaic
Seems familiar
The student who says Shakespeare is full of cliches
Disjunction lasting characteristic of 20th Century
Collaging techniques of "The Waste Land"
Fractional self
Source of art
Overarching preoccupicity
Ecstatic subjectivity vs. neurotic subjectivity
Instability into a positive trait
Tragic erudition of modernism
"The Waste Land" is great but repugnant
Uses Dada techniques only to convey us all back into the library
Fitting that Eliot ended up writing doggerel about cats
Not be a victim of itself
Formalists Lowell, Barryman, Plath
Instabilities of identities seem pathological
Fetishization of the self
There is no subject
"I" is counterrevolutionary
Self is decentered, not that it doesn't exist
How else account for that voltage
Exploits occasions
If divinity is in us, it's to make and unmake the self

Voice of Robert Desnos?
No handout for this one
Sense of futility
Its something is bouyant
Encyclopedic romp
Drunken kisses from cyclones
Purpose of poetry is to maintain the spirit
Restore us to impossible first necessary condition
It is impossible to write poetry, therefore we do it
Not craft, not wringing something out of nothing
Look into mirrors
Who am I, why am I here, why do I love, what will be my death?
Recreate the world we find
Wandering horses appear
Signal always fades
Being touched which is impossible
Being alive which is impossible


T-bone said...

First let me say thank god there wasn't a Q&A. Phew! (By the way, the wardrobe change was a wolf hat.) Thank you for the notes Grendal!

Antoine said...

Justin Timberlake popping open Janet Jackson's breast is not surreal, it is predictable

For some reason I heard this phrase in McPherson's voice.

Trevor Jackson said...

Here's a strangely dismissive review of a dada show in D.C. (via)

Well, I guess not totally strange. It is the Washington Times, chief D.C. organ of this Dada Administration.

gillymonster said...

Grendel, will you slam the notes tonight at the Mill?

Grendel said...

We could do it back and forth, each read every other line, with that "Lazy Sunday" music in the background.

But I think I'd rather just drink a beer and sit there.