Poetry News

Got Any American Neo-Surrealists In Your Family?

By Harriet Staff

Mark Tursi, editor at Apostrophe Books, is soliciting folks to give names of American Surrealist poets for a project he's working on with Michael Leong.

Here's the full text of his call, which lays out why they're making the list in the first place, etc:

In light of recent discussions on this blog regarding Surrealism and literary influences, I thought this might be an opportune time to ask a favor of all Montevidayo readers . . .
I’ve been working on generating a list of contemporary American Surrealist poets. I’m interested in writers whose work exhibits a significant debt to Surrealism and whose poetry is dominated by the “surrealist impulse.” The influence can be from French and European Surrealism, Latin American Surrealism, Negritude/Caribbean Surrealism, or elsewhere. I realize this opens up a bit of a can of worms, as the legacy of Surrealism and the influence of Surrealism is significant. But I’d rather keep it somewhat open-ended so that the work itself defines the parameters rather than my particular definition. . . I also tend to agree with Johannes in his most recent post about “counterfeit lineages” and many poets/scholars (e.g. Silliman) who exert a kind of “obsessive lineage-making.” This is not my intention. I elaborate on some of my discomfort with literary influence in a comment to Joyelle’s post from June 24th: Influence = Deformation Zone (A Telex from Solaris).
So, I’ll work by exemplification to shape the definition and hone the list when necessary. I’m using this for a number of things:

1. a scholarly work on Neo-Surrealism
2. a possible reading series at MoMA where I currently teach
3. And an anthology of Neo-Surrealism that I am putting together with Michael Leong. We have both done quite a bit of work in this area separately, but are just now beginning the collaborative process. We both thought that casting a wide net and seeing what surfaces is one way to avoid an obsessive Surrealist orthodoxy.

To offer names, go on over to the Montevidayo blog and leave a comment.

Originally Published: July 5th, 2011