Surrealist Writing

Class meets:
Monday through Saturday, May 20–25, 6:00–8:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 26, 7:00–8:30 p.m.

This is a week-long intensive Surrealist writing workshop. 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, 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 make contact with newer works by more contemporary surrealist artists and writers. However, all of our looking into Surrealism’s past and present unfolding will be to illumine and inspire us to create our own imaginative works. This workshop will actively explore both individual and collaborative writing and art. Even the “critiques” that we perform will be creative and entertaining. Exercises will include, but not be limited to: collaborative poetry and drawing, written interactions with visual art, reading, writing and performance of short dramatic scenes, extensive automatic writing projects, postcards to nowhere, and building dream sculptures. The workshop is open to writers and artists of every type and skill level. If you are blocked or stuck in a particular mode of expression, or feel the need to kick-start your art in an open and imaginative space, this class is for you.

In addition to the 2 ½ hours that our class meets each night, Matt will hold office hours several times during the week as a supplement to the workshop. These will be optional and anyone from the class is welcome but not obligated to attend. Also, the class will culminate in a short performance or recital of some of the works we create during the week-long intensive workshop. This is also fully optional.

Register here.