asker

treid90 asked: I really feel as though I could break into this style of writing comfortably but whenever I complete something that I feel is appropriately absurd--it then feels pretentious and ill-guided. I don't think I understand it and it frustrates me because its so entertaining to read. Does one write this intentionally or unintentionally?

uutpoetry:

Great question. I appreciate your genuine curiosity. Don’t feel bad—you are by no means the first writer to be befuddled by surrealism’s call to irrational juxtaposition. Nor are you far off the scent by scrutinizing and doubting the quality of the results.

Two things. First, commit to writing automatically. You are detecting pretentiousness in your writing because you are self-conscious, which reflects from the normal, Romantic model of writing we are trained to believe in. Automatism says discard that. Write unselfconsciously. The price you pay for this freedom is that you don’t get to claim credit for the results—or at least not in the same way. Automatism is the opposite of intentionality and control. This is why I promote the use of rules, prompts, seed texts and chance methods. Arbitrary parameters limit your ability to control the writing. And then you don’t have to worry about it being pretentious, because it wasn’t you, in your subjectivity, writing the poem. You are only a vehicle for language. Accept this, and you are poised to be a surrealist.

Second, trust in contradiction. If you’re seeing the results as pretentious and ill-guided, it is likely because you’re reading for continuity. Read (/write) for discontinuity. The disruptions, contradictions, juxtapositions and strange incongruities are where the sublimity of the text happens. Breton gave this concept a special term, the “marvelous.” If you know you are trying to open yourself to the marvelous during the writing process, you’re less likely to censor these interesting contradictions out of your writing. 

More could be said (about revision, “authenticity,” etc.), but these are the basic and essential starting point.

Good luck! And feel free to submit the results!

I am inventing a language which must necessarily burst forth from a very new poetics, that could be defined in a couple of words: Paint, not the thing, but the effect it produces. The line of poetry in such a case should be composed not of words, but of intentions, and all the words should fade away before the sensation. — Stéphane Mallarmé, Observations (via viperslang)
Novels can—should—mirror the non-coherence of the world. Rarely do I relate when a writer utilizes narrative structure to force reconciliation. For me, truth cracks open in the places where things do not cohere. That’s how life is. Rupture and incoherence of parts, which stream into understanding. I guess my intention with the form—what I think the form can do—is stream what doesn’t fit into a frequency of some kind, not a plot of some kind. I would prefer to let the reader deal with holding together what fits because it is in one book, and not because the writer tried to make parts cohere in a symphonic logic. But all writers say some version of that, that they want books to match the rupture and incoherence of life. The question is how much do you really allow for it. I hope for more of it in my own work, in the future. Rachel Kushner (via shimmer)

(via bodegamag)

poetsandwriters:

From “Trouble Behind Glass Doors” in poet Walter Bergen’s collection, Trouble Behind Glass Doors: Poems. BkMk, University of Missouri-Kansas City: 2013.

poetsandwriters:

From “Trouble Behind Glass Doors” in poet Walter Bergen’s collection, Trouble Behind Glass Doors: Poems. BkMk, University of Missouri-Kansas City: 2013.

(via bodegamag)

Months of looking at the manuscript and saying, ‘This is wrong—but what’s wrong?’ I ask myself, ‘If this book were a dream, it would be a dream of what?’ But when I’m asking this I’m also trying to believe in what I’ve written, to forget that it’s writing and to say, ‘This has taken place,’ even if it hasn’t. The idea is to perceive your invention as a reality that can be understood as a dream. The idea is to turn flesh and blood into literary characters and literary characters into flesh and blood. — Philip Roth (via mttbll)

(via bodegamag)

althistories:

Robby the Robot poses with co-star Anne Francis in this shot for 1956’s Forbidden Planet, a brilliant and visually stunning retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. 

althistories:

Robby the Robot poses with co-star Anne Francis in this shot for 1956’s Forbidden Planet, a brilliant and visually stunning retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.