Thursday, May 02, 2013

Come Join Surrealist Writing With Matt Rotando!

Come join me in Tucson!


A Surrealist Writing Workshop
At the University of Arizona Poetry Center from May 20 to May 26

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.

Tuition: $225 + $5 course material fee

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

More information and registration can be found here.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Regarding Pain

Sometimes the thing I try to do is feel all my pain at exactly the same time. The pain in my legs from running too hard, the pain in my chest from my lonely pleasure, the pain in my back from my bicycle crash, the pain in my temple because I don't see my grandma enough, the pain in my left knee from when I carried Butch on my shoulders and stepped into a ditch, the pain in my cheeks and stomach from one recent and particularly premature goodbye, the pain in my eyes from the time I saw what I shouldn't have seen (a death too young). I think of all this and I try to bring all this physical pain right up to the surface, all at the same time: the itch, the heat, the dull knot, the ache, the pressure, the stab...I let them all take me over, fill me up, so there isn't any idea of me left that isn't pain pain haha pain haha. 

And then he just spins there, a pain man, a hot popcorn kernel whizzing around in a kettle about to pop...but he doesn't pop...he just spins and spins, getting hotter and hotter and the walls of his skin begin to turn black and smoke...and still he gets hotter and a little orange flame forms and dances across his surface and his face cracks and falls away and his eyes light up, sending Fourth of July sparks everywhere and the full moon begins to wobble in its orbit around the earth from the incredible nuclear heat of this man made of pain spinning faster than a quark, faster than Einstein ever dreamed. A new and very unstable source of gravity forms and drags all sorts of unknown elements out of the center of the earth's molten core and they blast upwards towards the moon, which has begun to rumble and tremble. And weird milky stuff the color of Brie oozes out of the cracks in the moon's surface. And all the people of planet Earth are out of their beds now (half of them were awake already anyway) and they look up into the sky or down at the fissures forming in the rupturing earth and they begin to feel all their pain too, because of a strange chemical associative effect from the scorching speed and intensity of the man made of pain going round and round haha haha. 

And before anybody knows what to do or how to do it the whole shitshow makes a sound like the puff of air from the device the eye doctor uses to shoot in your pupil during your eye exam and it all disappears. And then...Nothing. Just a faint smell of unpopped popcorn and a vast and endless space. And Werner Herzog in a space capsule with a hand-held camera over his shoulder pointing into the blackness saying to himself: "Yesss. Yesss. Haha. Yesss. I knew it. Thiss wass the right time."