Skip to main content


I am teaching Jesus' Son in my intro to lit class and the students often want to know if such and such really happened. The narrator is not reliable, but he is very aware. Oftentimes lucid via drugs. Other times he thinks he is lucid and is just fucked up.

The surrealist moments of the stories reveal the psychology of the narrator and the "agonistic embrace" of reality and desire.

As a strategy, surrealism has been adopted full on by the capitalist machine. It is an excellent marketing strategy. It went mainstream in the sitcom world with Ally McBeal (perhaps before?)

Ally McBeal was hailed as a "breakthrough" form of narrative because it showed what a "female pyschology" and enacted it on the screen. I only watched a few episodes, but there was a wierd male lawyer who had a fascination with flushing and stuttered. Ally McBeal carried around a theme song in her head. She was empowered.

Surrealism as special effects is also an interesting adaptation. The dream sequence is now as common as _________.

quirky funniness and elements of surrealism are also hallmarks of a lot of NY School poetry (insert generation).

From Matthew Rohrer to James Tate to Russel Edson. I was initially attracted to surrealism (and I still am to some degree), but I am wondering if there is a difference between surrealism as marketing technique versus surrealism as poetry technique. Is surrealism in American poetry implicated in the surrealism of American advertising?

I see the "let's be strange to be strange" connected to the "look at me I am a quirky genius."

The other for the sake of the other might be a different thing, however.
The strange as exoticism (sometimes surrealism) or the strange as psychology ( as in that'd deep man).

If the surface is the meaning then how can a surreal image "plumb the depths" of consciousness?

Surrealism in Eastern european poetry is very common. Tomaz Salamun's use of surrealism is different than ___________.

Then again, the real is surreal. The terms are interchangable. Just look at Chris Vatiello's recent posts about American Desolation (Costco is made surreal, perceived surreal, is surreal, is real?)

Anyway, the surreal is hip, cool.

How can we take it back?



Popular posts from this blog

poets reading poets

There are on A now: Andrews, Antin, Apollinaire, Ashbery

A project from the Atlanta Poetry Group. Check it:

The Poetry of Tao Lin

Another Ireland by Robert Archambeau

This review really hit it for me. I recently read Maurice Scully's _Livelihood_ and Geofrey Squires _Untitled and Other Poems_ is on deck (I love that baseball term. It is baseball, right?)

I think this is from The Nortre Dame review, but I found it via goofle (I mean google).

Another Ireland: Part Two
Maurice Scully, The Basic Colours. Durham, UK: Pig Press, 1994.
Geoffrey Squires, Landscapes and Silences. Dublin: New Writers' Press, 1996.
Catherine Walsh, Idir Eatortha and Making Tents. London: Invisible Books, 1996.

By Robert Archambeau

I began the first half of this article (Notre Dame Review #4) by mentioning some of the limits to the legendary hospitality Ireland has shown to its poets. If you arrive in Ireland from any point of departure outside of Eastern Europe, you will indeed find a public far more willing than the one you left behind to grant poets the recognition all but the most ascetic secretly crave. However, this hospitality has never extended to Irish poets w…