Surrealist Writing


Mondays and Thursdays, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
June 13 through June 30 (six meetings)

Taught By: 

This is a craft class in surrealist writing. We will not write “poetry” exclusively, because to limit the medium would only negate the expansive attitude the early Surrealists worked so hard to encourage. In his “Manifesto of Surrealism” (1924), André Breton wrote that the imagination knows no bounds, but that we are nearly always engaged in actions that limit it. This class works to reverse the process, to “unfurl the flag of the imagination” and produce the strangest and maddest pieces of art and writing possible, in order “to express, either verbally, or in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought.” We will read and discuss key texts such as the major manifestos of the early Surrealists, and early iconic poetic and dramatic formations by writers such as Breton, Tristan Tzara, Benjamin Péret, Robert Desnos, Henri Michaux, and others. We will also watch an early Surrealist film, Un Chien Andalou, and look at some early Surrealist sculpture and painting. However, all of our looking into Surrealism’s past will be done to illumine and inspire us to create our own imaginative works.

Exercises will include, but not be limited to: collaborative poetry and drawing, written responses to visual art, reading and writing of short dramatic scenes, extensive automatic writing projects, postcards to nowhere, and building dream sculptures. This course is open to writers and artists of every kind and skill level.

What our students say about Surrealist Writing with Matt Rotando

Matt is imaginative, brilliant, friendly, helpful, creative, encouraging. The class was a bright shining light in an otherwise dim and boring week of diurnal life.

The techniques taught in class were extremely worthwhile and valuable. I will use them the rest of my life.

This class exceeded my expectations. The assignments were like two pianos dueling for gold. The in-class activities opened us up like a can of sweet corn.

Matt somehow makes wild creativity come easy. With his encouragement, we forgot that we were scaredy-cat giraffes, and remembered we were impulsive wildebeests, laughing hyenas, and self-congratulatory swans.

Offer this class again! 

$150 + $5 course material fee
Arizona Board of Regents