Cover image for Surrealist love poems
Surrealist love poems
Caws, Mary Ann.
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
120 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London : Tate Pub., 2001.
Added Author:
Format :


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PN6110.L6 S87 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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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 the 1920s on the ashes of Dada's nihilism, embraced absurdity, contradiction, and, to a supreme extent, passion and desire. From Andr#65533; 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 Dal#65533; 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."

Author Notes

Mary Ann Cawsis Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, English and French at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Mary Ann CawsLouis AragonAndre BretonJacques-Bernard BruniusAime CesaireRene CharSalvador DaliLeon-Gontran DamasRobert DesnosRobert DesnosPaul EluardMarcelle FerryFrida KahloAnnie Le BrunGilbert LelyDora MaarJoyce MansourMariaAlice PaalenOctavio PazValentine PenroseBenjamin PeretPablo PicassoPhilippe SoupaultRemedios Varo
The poetics of surrealist lovep. 9
The approach of love and a kissp. 22
Poem written in the toilets with a knife on the wallp. 23
Free unionp. 24
I dream I see your imagep. 28
Always for the first timep. 30
They tell me that over therep. 32
As they movep. 33
In the lovely twilightp. 34
On the road to San Romanop. 36
I lovep. 38
The automatic crystalp. 40
Lovep. 41
The climate of the hunt or how poetry is madep. 43
The nuptial countenancep. 44
Binding cradled--cradle boundp. 48
Through the half-opened windowp. 50
I have so often dreamed of youp. 51
No, love is not deadp. 52
If you knewp. 54
Sleep spacesp. 56
Oh pangs of love!p. 58
Never anyone but youp. 59
The voice of Robert Desnosp. 60
Obsessionp. 64
Your mouth with golden lipsp. 65
The shape of your eyesp. 66
I love youp. 67
The earth is blue like an orangep. 68
I've told youp. 69
As you risep. 70
The loverp. 72
About one, two, everyonep. 73
Since it must bep. 74
Our lifep. 75
You came down from the mountainsp. 76
Now he comesp. 77
Twelfth ring (extract)p. 78
Sulphur smilep. 81
I rested in the arms of my armsp. 82
Your breath in my mouthp. 83
You love to lie in our unmade bedp. 84
I want to show myself nakedp. 85
Rememberp. 86
The storm sketches a silver marginp. 88
I want to sleep with youp. 89
Even long after my deathp. 90
Turtledove on the groundp. 91
A woman who was beautifulp. 93
Clear night (extract)p. 94
Beloved to love youp. 96
Winkp. 99
Hellop. 100
Do you knowp. 101
Fountainp. 102
Her great thighsp. 103
Georgiap. 104
Song for ghosts and for those now gonep. 107
A recipe: how to produce erotic dreamsp. 108
Biographiesp. 110
Sourcesp. 118
List of illustrated worksp. 120