Monday, May 21, 2012

New jacket2 post: Kim Hyesoon, surrealism & old age

"meme is a lone tree that got planted in a bed"

Towards a surrealism of old age: Kim Hyesoon's "An Old Woman" & _Princess Abandoned_

Kim Hyesoon & Don Mee Choi, February, 2009, Chicago AWP bookfair
Among recent notices on my Facebook feed was one for the new issue of Big Bridge, in particular a feature on “Neo-surrealism,” edited by Adam Cornford.  Cornford’s expansive introduction to the feature, which looks back to the history of surrealism and forward to his selection of living poets, includes this definition of his subject: “What defines a Surrealist poetry today, then, is what has defined it from the outset. (This definition embraces both answers I gave at the beginning, though the latter one, I believe, is the more important.) Surrealist poetry can only be ‘a cry of the mind determined to break apart its fetters.’ It must contribute, intentionally or otherwise, to the liberation of the mind ‘and all that resembles it.’” I’m not here to argue against the mind’s liberation, rather to suggest that newer forms of surrealism can be used effectively to record what occurs before the imagined line break in Cornford’s phrase “the mind determined to break apart / its fetters.” The breaking apart of a mind, most familiar to me as a product (or anti-product) of dementia and Alzheimer’s, can be tracked through what I’ve elsewhere called “documentary surrealism.” In the blog post to which I just offered a link, I wrote:  “To say that dementia is a surreal condition is probably not to say anything anyone doubts who has confronted a relative or friend with Alzheimer’s disease. More interesting, on a literary level, is the way in which writing about dementia creates a hybrid form, documentary surrealism. If documentary poetry combines the strengths of historical writing, journalism, collage, and the lyric, then documentary surrealism opens up the field to the ways in which the imagination is actualized by mental illness or other extreme states (such as the post-traumatic syndrome Andre Breton dealt with during WWI when he treated soldiers off the battlefield).”

for the rest of the post, click here.

1 comment:

slarry said...

Incredible post.... Three incredibly gifted and poignant writers. Bless you all!

Sheri Swaner