Award Nominated “Palpitations of Dust” Announces Additional Screening

Contact
Ann Huang
Filmmaker

Phone: (949) 280-5290
huang.yuwei.ann@gmail.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

The 8th Annual Taste Awards : Praise Continues for “Palpitations of Dust”

Ann Huang

February 21, 2017: This star-studded event acknowledged outstanding excellence in video, film, mobile and interactive content focused on food, drink, fashion, design, travel, health and lifestyle. Nominated film “Palpitations of Dust” was described as one of the most innovative and exciting festival discoveries. Click to learn more about the film from the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival and view more event photos.

Award Nominated “Palpitations of Dust” Announces Additional Screening

 

February 2017: A new screening of Ann Huang’s film “Palpitations of Dust” has been scheduled at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film festival on Monday, February 20, 2017 in Regal Cinema LA LIVE. The film, written and adapted by Ann Huang, explores the lives of three friends, which become complicated when facing choices of love, friendship, need and reciprocity. Learn more about the festival and purchase tickets at http://hollywoodreelindependentfilmfestival.com/.

Ann Huang’s film has also been nominated for a Taste Award. The Taste Awards are original awards for the Lifestyle Entertainment Industry and the highest awards for creators, producers, hosts, and directors. The Award recognizes and acknowledges outstanding excellence in video, film, and more.

The Taste Awards Reception/Ceremony takes place on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 in Beverly Hills where the winner will be announced.

VIP red carpet reception includes presentation ceremony and announcement, gift bags and more. Tickets are available for purchase online at http://www.thetasteawards.com/events/.

 

About Ann Huang

Ann Huang was born and raised in Mainland China and her passion for words dates back to her childhood. World literature and theatrical performances became dominating forces during her linguistic training at various educational institutions. As a first generation Chinese American, Huang possesses a unique global perspective on the past, present and future of Latin America, the United States and China. She is an MFA candidate from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and has authored two poetry collections. For more information, visit https://www.annhuang.com/blog/.

brown film spiral

Transmedia Storytelling: How to Promote Your Poetry or Experimental Film (Part II)

brown film spiral
Last month, I introduced you to my experimental film Palpitations of Dust (https://vimeo.com/180268104), which has won recognition at film festivals. When you’re ready to release your film, it isn’t enough to premier it in a theater if you want it to draw attention. You must take steps to promote it and make it appealing to your audience. Therefore, what you do after completing an experimental film is just as important as the film itself. By knowing marketing basics, you can turn your passion into a profitable venture.

Marketing Your Experimental Film

If you are serious about filmmaking, you must treat your craft like a business. You cannot make a film and hope that it will do well in the theater and make sales online. You must take steps to showcase your unique vision and create a buzz. Those steps depend on information, such as your audience’s:

  • Age
  • Geographic location
  • Preferred movie genres
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Gender
  • How they consume information
  • Preferred social media platforms

In today’s technological age, you will find that your audience consumes information from a number of sources because they also want to feel as if they have a role in what you offer. This is where transmedia storytelling comes into play. The marketing technique helps set your film apart from the other noise on the Internet by using multiple media platforms to transport your message into your audience’s daily life. By using transmedia storytelling, you transition from telling a story to making one with your audience.

With Palpitations of Dust, I used poems that I wrote in the past, film festivals, video-on-demand and social media to make the story come together. Ideas that others use to market their own films include:

  • Creating a film festival strategy
  • Entering a film for an award
  • Showing teasers and trailers on social media platforms just prior to releasing the film to create a sense of excitement
  • Hanging posters and handing out fliers in the community where you plan to premier the film
  • Creating a website and social media pages dedicated to the film
  • Using social media before and after a screening to connect with your audience and keep the conversation going
  • Submitting the film to VOD services and television networks
  • Hosting special screening events
  • Email marketing and flyer for promotion purposes
  • Submitting press releases to local newspapers and news websites, such this one (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/11/prweb13821729.htm) for Palpitations of Dust

Do You Need an Agent or Publicist?

The answer to this question depends on your needs. An agent is an individual who takes care of the business aspects of your endeavor so you can focus on the creative aspects. These professionals negotiate contracts, give guidance, and provide creative feedback. They learn about your goals and devise a plan to help you meet them. They can also connect you to other professionals that you might need for a film, such as producers. If filmmaking is a hobby, you might not need an agent. If it is a serious career, an agent can prove invaluable.

Hiring a publicist is a good idea if a major film festival screens your experimental film. This individual can help you develop strong publicity materials, get you in touch with the right press contacts, manage festival publicity and marketing campaigns, raise your film’s media profile, arrange interviews, and maximize the exposure your film receives.

The only thing more exciting than writing poetry or making a film is sharing your talents with others. Strategic transmedia storytelling will help get the ball rolling by expanding the narrative that you create into the lives of your audience, making your fans your greatest evangelists and assets.

spiral film strip from movie

Where to Promote Your Poetry or Experimental Film (Part I)

spiral film strip from movieTransmedia storytelling is a popular trend that you may have experienced without knowing it. It encompasses dispersing a work or parts of a work across multiple platforms to provide an audience with a unified, coordinated experience. The Hunger Games is a great example in which Lionsgate and Campfire used billboards, social media, videos, fan challenges, websites and cinemas to tell the complete story about the universe in which the movie characters live. If you are a writer or filmmaker, you don’t need to collaborate with a major film studio to promote your own work. In 2016, I released the experimental film Palpitations of Dust (https://vimeo.com/180268104). By using outlets available to the public, I successfully promoted my film and engaged its audience.

Transmedia Storytelling Basics

In transmedia storytelling, the platforms used to promote your works contribute to its unfolding story. In Palpitations of Dust, I narrated poems that I published in the past to give viewers an enhanced and more immersive experience. Because I used different platforms to promote the film, I gave my audience different points of entry to experience it, as well as an invitation and incentive to immerse themselves in the world that I created.

The Best Poets to Pitch Your Experimental Film

Many experimental films combine different types of art in a manner that might seem unconventional. Along with using actors and paintings in Palpitations of Dust, I narrated poems that I wrote. Many filmmakers use poems written by other artists. Often, the best poets or poetry laureates to pitch your film to are individuals you know. The poet laureate I worked with was Jean Valentine who has been my mentor in New York, and Ralph Angel who has been my teacher for the last two years, based in Los Angeles.

Promoting Your Experimental Film

Theaters

Good theaters to premier your films in are those that routinely show experimental films, such as community theaters and art houses, because they already have an audience that’s interested in your genre. Some of these theaters are part of or have a relationship with college campuses with active film programs.

Film Festivals

Film festivals are great for showing your work to the world because they have an audience that wants to see it. Festival screenings are also ideal because they naturally create buzz about films and the talents behind them. Below are some of the popular festivals for short films in the United States and around the world:

I recently had the honor of winning the Best Experimental Film award at the 2016 Los Angeles Film and Script Festival for Palpitations of Dust, as well as an Award of Recognition in the experimental film category at IndieFEST. The film is also nominated for Official Selection: Best Mini Film or Documentary at the TASTE AWARDS, which will announce the winner in February 2017.

Palpitations of Dust is pre-selected for the first annual Pacific Coast Premier and the Near Nazareth Festival. I also screened the film at the Oasis Short Film Festival, which showcases the emerging talent of the next generation filmmakers who don’t necessarily have big budgets or industry-filmmaker connections to be recognized.

Raindance, iFilmfest and the Underground Film Journal are great resources that list several festivals for screening experimental films.

Online Streaming Video Services

Video-on-demand, or VOD, services are great ways to give your audience a way to view a film from any device with an Internet connection. The most popular platforms include:

Sonnyboo lists media outlets that seek short films. PBS also lists popular digital self-distribution options that do not have a curation process.

Visit my blog next month to learn more about transmedia storytelling and how to promote your experimental film.

Screenshot from Ann Huang's film, Palpitations of Dust

Ann Huang’s “Palpitations of Dust” Receives Best Experimental Film Award

Contact

Ann Huang

Independent Filmmaker

Phone: (949) 280-5290

huang.yuwei.ann@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Ann Huang’s “Palpitations of Dust” Receives Best Experimental Film Award

 

November 2016: Ann Huang’s film “Palpitations of Dust” has received the Best Experimental Film Award at the Los Angeles Film and Script Festival.

The film will be screened at The Complex Theater in Hollywood California at the Fall 2016 Los Angeles Film and Script Festival on November 5th 2016. Tickets are available for purchase online at http://www.lafilmtickets.info/Tickets.html.

Written and adapted by Ann Huang, the five surrealist poems in one presentation represents the continuous and infinite patterns of a life in dreams and the dreams demanding synchronicity from it.

In the film, three friends’ lives become complicated when facing choices of love, friendship, need and reciprocity. Everything is hung on a thin string– from desire to love, to dream, to face life’s disarrays, and then to settle on an unexpected destiny.

Eric Stoner co-produced, served as the art director, locations manager, and was a lead actor in the production. Tatiana Rozo acted and served as an assistant editor. Dean Nathan served as the cinematographer/DP, editor, sound editor, and did the digital effects.

About Ann Huang

Ann Huang was born and raised in Mainland China and her passion for words dates back to her childhood. World literature and theatrical performances became dominating forces during her linguistic training at various educational institutions. As a first generation Chinese American, Huang possesses a unique global perspective on the past, present and future of Latin America, the United States and China. She is an MFA candidate from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and has authored two poetry collections. For more information, visit http://annhuang.com.

Are There Any Rules for Translating Poetry?

Poetry writing and translation rulesAs an art form, poetry doesn’t have hard and fast rules. While there are elements that make up certain types of poems, such as rhyme and meter, there is no “wrong” way to write poetry. The same, however, is not necessarily true for poetry translations. Translations can be a beautiful way to share a poet’s works with the world. Without them, people around the globe would not have been exposed to the masterful works of William Shakespeare, Federico García Lorca, Rumi and many others. The problem with translations, however, is that they become the translator’s work, a work based on the original poet’s ideas. To prevent misrepresenting an original poem’s spirit, there are guidelines that translators follow to keep their words as intimately related to the work in question.

Guidelines for Translating Poetry

Be fluent in the languages with which you work.

If you Google Translate to have a conversation with an individual who speaks a different language than you, you’ll quickly find that phrases don’t always translate well. Sayings that make perfect sense in U.S. English could be nonsensical in other languages, and vice versa. Having intimate knowledge of the poet’s language and the target language will bring you a step closer to staying true to the original text.

Understand the poet’s culture and history.

Having a rudimentary understanding of a language is not enough. You must also be familiar with a poet’s culture and life in his or her point in history. An understanding of a poet’s culture allows you to recognize when a direct translation of a phrase will not work well. A translator who understands the Latvian language and culture, for instance, will see the phrase, “Ej bekot,” and know that a poet doesn’t necessarily mean, “Go pick mushrooms,” which is the literal translation. He or she will know that this phrase means, “Leave me alone,” or “Go away.”

In addition to understanding colloquialisms, a translator should be aware of the respective language’s evolution. An individual translating Shakespeare into another language, for example, should know that phrases like, “Well met,” and, “Good morrow,” as seen in Henry V, are greetings that people during the poet’s era often said.

Stay as true to the original poem as closely as possible.

When translating a poem, you must stay as close to the original meaning as possible in a manner that mimics its original essence and structure. Doing this not only requires a deep understanding of the respective languages, but also the poem itself. For instance, an individual who doesn’t know that Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!” is about Abraham Lincoln’s death will not capture the work’s true meaning in a translation.

Staying close and true to the poem also means feeling and reflecting a poem’s rhythm, pauses, beats, grammatical structure and swirls. If a poet intentionally used words to give a work a specific meter or sound, or places stress on key words, a good translation will replicate these characteristics.

Translating a poem is far from a simple process. It’s often messy and requires deconstruction, erasing, rewriting and starting over. It is this process, however, that brings the gift of literature to others, making your efforts worthwhile and invaluable.

Below are some examples of Ann Huang’s translated poems from Classical Chinese to English. They were published on the National Translation Month website in September 2016.

Ann Huang is a marketing manager based in Newport Beach, California. She grew up in China, moved to Mexico when she was a teen, and is an MFA candidate from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Huang has authored two poetry collections. Her poem, “Night Lullaby,” was a Ruth Stone Poetry Prize finalist. She is at work translating Tang dynasty poet Li Shang-Yin 李商隐.

Poem 1

Untitled

When we meet,

we don’t want to leave each other,

The east wind can’t help

blowing the petals, can’t

bring them back.

Silk worms stop giving

silk till he dies, and my

tears won’t dry until

the candle light fades out.

I look at the mirror and see

my dark hair grow gray,

I drink at night alongside frail

moonlight.

Once you climb onto the mountain roads

to the monastery,

there will be few ways out.

Perhaps there will

only be blue birds that

expect you to come back.

 

Poem 2

Untitled (2)

At eight you found yourself gazing

into the mirror discreetly, and drew

your long eyebrows.

At ten you journeyed out, and

adorned your skirt shorts

with hibiscus.

At twelve you learned to

play the flute, and never lost

your affection.

At fourteen, you hid from ancient

customs and distant relatives,

avoided arranged marriages.

At fifteen you wept in the spring air,

turned your back facing down

just like a swinger.

 

Poem 3

Untitled (3)

Last night’s stars twinkled in the

damp cool winds, from

painted floors like western meadows

held the party in the east.

Without the pair of Phoenix’s wings,

we cannot fly together, our souls

touching, our spirits connected

through a thread of harmony.

Across the table, we diverted and converted

our drinks into warm streams. There,

we unveiled the mystery and discovered the

true hearts in the heated crowd.

Sighing– when the drum struck

to usher me back to work. A horse

ride turned my disillusion to

the orchids, where my empty future stands.

Crossing the Line: When a Translated Poem Becomes an Original Work

 

poetry book

Language is a barrier in more than one respect. If you’re in a foreign country and can’t speak the native language, you might find it difficult to communicate. These barriers sometimes form when words are translated from one language into another. You can find extreme examples of this on some imported products, like a warning label for plum jelly that states, “1. Please do not attract one grain by to swallow. 2. Below five years old, please not edible.” These phrases might make perfect sense in the original language, but the literal translation ends up being a source of confusion and amusement. The same happens with varying degrees with translated poems. As a result, scholars often debate the effectiveness of translations.

Blurred Lines

When done correctly, translations are wonder devices that open doors to new worlds. They are essential to introducing readers to new cultures and ideas. Without them, you might not be exposed great works, like Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Candide by Voltaire, or Laozi’s Tao Te Ching. Poet Haroldo de Campos was celebrated for his masterful translations of some of the Western world’s most important works into Portuguese, such as those by Mallarmé, Dante, Homer and James Joyce.

The problem with translations generally stems from the fact that you are dependent upon a translator’s subjective interpretation. You rely on this individual’s understanding of the poet’s language, dialect, culture, life, target audience, historical period and more. You trust that the translator fully understood the original work and remained faithful to its essence and voice. You have faith that the translator is on par with the poet’s artistic abilities and has a good understanding of the new target readers and their culture.

When a translator fails to be faithful to the original work, it becomes the translator’s poem—a completely new work. When this occurs, interesting things happen. For example, a culture might adopt the translated piece as an original work. An example of this is John Dryden’s version of the epic Aeneid by Virgil. In the preface, Dryden stated that he tried to make Virgil sound English, as if he were from Great Britain. He turned the original unrhymed verses into couplets while using lines from Sir John Denham’s translation. Dryden rewrote Virgil’s work to appeal to an audience in a different period that had a different language and culture. He made the audience the priority. The losses in translation remain invisible to those who don’t take it upon themselves to do a careful comparison.

When an original poem and its translation clash, there is often a failure on the translator’s part to read for meaning and the language. This ultimately hurts the audience, but creates opportunities for additional translations. While a translator cannot change a poet’s original work, the individual can present his or her own interpretation.

Translations are like artistic mimicry. While it is possible to translate poetry, it is important to keep in mind that no translation will ever be the original work. Therefore, there is always room for reexamination and improvement. Rather than give up on reading translations, get your hand on as many as you can find. Read the introductory essays written by the translators to learn what guided their work and made it unique. Soak in the words and draw your own conclusions about original poet’s words.

Examples of Translated Poems

“The Song of Despair”

By Pablo Neruda, translated by W.S. Merwin

The memory of you emerges from the night around me.

The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.

It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!

Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.

Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.

In you the wars and the flights accumulated.

From you the wings of the song birds rose.

You swallowed everything, like distance.

Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!

It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss.

The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse.

Pilot’s dread, fury of a blind diver,

turbulent drunkenness of love, in you everything sank!

In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.

Lost discoverer, in you everything sank!

You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire,

sadness stunned you, in you everything sank!

I made the wall of shadow draw back,

beyond desire and act, I walked on.

Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost,

I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you.

Like a jar you housed the infinite tenderness,

and the infinite oblivion shattered you like a jar.

There was the black solitude of the islands,

and there, woman of love, your arms took me in.

There were thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit.

There were grief and the ruins, and you were the miracle.

Ah woman, I do not know how you could contain me

in the earth of your soul, in the cross of your arms!

How terrible and brief was my desire of you!

How difficult and drunken, how tensed and avid.

Cemetery of kisses, there is still fire in your tombs,

still the fruited boughs burn, pecked at by birds.

Oh the bitten mouth, oh the kissed limbs,

oh the hungering teeth, oh the entwined bodies.

Oh the mad coupling of hope and force

in which we merged and despaired.

And the tenderness, light as water and as flour.

And the word scarcely begun on the lips.

This was my destiny and in it was the voyage of my longing,

and in it my longing fell, in you everything sank!

Oh pit of debris, everything fell into you,

what sorrow did you not express, in what sorrow are you not drowned!

From billow to billow you still called and sang.

Standing like a sailor in the prow of a vessel.

You still flowered in songs, you still broke in currents.

Oh pit of debris, open and bitter well.

Pale blind diver, luckless slinger,

lost discoverer, in you everything sank!

It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour

which the night fastens to all the timetables.

The rustling belt of the sea girdles the shore.

Cold stars heave up, black birds migrate.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.

Only the tremulous shadow twists in my hands.

Oh farther than everything. Oh farther than everything.

It is the hour of departure. Oh abandoned one.

 

“Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines”
By Pablo Neruda, translated by W.S. Merwin

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, ‘The night is starry

and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.

I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.

How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.

And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.

The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.

My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.

My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.

We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.

My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.

Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.

Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms

my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer

and these the last verses that I write for her.

 

“The Shape of Your Eyes”
By Paul Eluard, translated by Mary Ann Caws

 The shape of your eyes goes round my heart,

A round of dance and sweetness.

Halo of time, cradle nightly and sure

No longer do I know what I’ve lived,

Your eyes have not always seen me.

Leaves of day and moss of dew,

Reeds of wind and scented smiles,

Wings lighting up the world,

Boats laden with sky and sea,

Hunters of sound and sources of colour,

Scents the echoes of a covey of dawns

Recumbent on the straw of stars,

As the day depends on innocence

The world relies on your pure sight

All my blood courses in its glance.

 

“I Love”
By Jacques-Bernard Brunius, translated by Mary Ann Caws

I love sliding I love upsetting everything

I love coming in I love sighing

I love taming the furtive manes of hair

I love hot I love tenuous

I love supple I love infernal

I love sugared but elastic the curtain of springs turning to glass

I love pearl I love skin

I love tempest I love pupil

I love benevolent seal long-distance swimmer

I love oval I love struggling

I love shining I love breaking

I love the smoking spark silk vanilla mouth to mouth

I love blue I love known—knowing

I love lazy I love spherical

I love liquid beating drum sun if it wavers

I love to the left I love in the fire

I love because I love at the edges

I love forever many times Just one

I love freely I love especially

I love separately I love scandalously

I love similarly obscurely uniquely

HOPINGLY

I love           I shall love

5 Things to Know about Transcendentalist Poetry

view of natural area

In the early 19th century, transcendentalism, a philosophical movement that got its start in Massachusetts, offered a cultural alternative to American materialism. The group of individuals in the Transcendental Club placed importance on simple living, intellect and intelligent conversations. Members included writer such as Ralf Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Louisa May Alcott, Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau. They wrote in a manner that was distinctly different from anything that ever came out of Europe. Their philosophy was simple: All people equally have knowledge about themselves and their world that goes beyond, or transcends, what they can hear, see, feel or taste. By understanding more about the movement, you will gain a better appreciation for the works that came out of the movement.

Facts about Transcendentalist Poetry

The source of knowledge: Transcendentalists believed that the imagination, contemplation of the internal spirit, and intuition were the sources of knowledge, as opposed to empirical sources or logic, because individuals can trust themselves to know what is right. These ideas were not necessarily religious beliefs, but ways of understanding life and relationships.

Roots in Immanuel Kant: The roots of transcendental philosophies, which provided a new way to understand knowledge and truth, trace back to Immanuel Kant’s teachings. The great German thinker often focused on what one could never know for sure. He stated that one had the ability to determine if something was true or false and use the knowledge to shape their view of the world. He encouraged skepticism among scientific advances, as science cannot answer all questions.

Connected to the universe: Transcendentalists believed that just as all individuals are in the universe, each person has the universe in his or her soul. The inside of a person’s soul mirrors their environment, and vice versa. For example, if you feel happy, the sun shining in the sky reflects your mood. When it starts to rain, you might feel sad.

Non-conformity: Transcendentalism largely focuses on individualism. The followers believed that unhappiness stemmed from trying to conform to social pressures. The only way to find true happiness is to pursue your own path because you are the only one who truly knows yourself.

Focus on nature: Transcendentalists feared that industrialism distracted individuals from nature. To them, nature was the only place in which they could be themselves, and therefore understand themselves, because nature doesn’t apply social pressures or standards. Because nature doesn’t judge, it is the one place where an individual is most free. This focus on nature influenced conservationists who later fought to establish national parks and other natural areas.

Through their words, transcendental poets paved the way for seeing the American experiment as one that involved self-reliance and individualism. Their progressive, liberal ideas started discussions about abolition, women’s right, equality for all, education and reform. They created a new awareness that drove an American Renaissance about a decade before the Civil War. While the movement didn’t last long, the ideas generated revived American literature and fueled minds for decades.

5 Techniques Used by Surrealist Poets

surrealist sculpture

Inspired by Dadaism and the writings of Sigmund Freud, Surrealist poets give the imagination and dreams as much precedence as logic and reason. The writers use the unconscious mind to explain rational life. To free the imagination, poets use a variety of techniques that liberate the mind of conscious control.

Surrealist Poetry Techniques

Exquisite corpse game:

Writers use games as a way to have fun and investigate their minds when writing Surrealist poetry. Games break traditional thought patterns, allowing thoughts to be more random and ideas to flow more freely.

In the exquisite corpse game, players take turn writing down words on a piece of paper. After one person writes a set of words based on the rules (e.g., adjective noun / adjective verb / adjective noun), the individual folds the piece of paper to conceal the writing and passes it to the next person. Leader of the Surrealist movement, André Breton, developed the game with his friends, in which they wrote, “The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine.”

Palindrome poem:

Palindrome poems are visual works of art, creating a mirror image. They masterfully read the same backwards and forwards, as in the following poem by Jerry P. Quinn.

Unseen Travelers

Spoken Breath
Creating flesh and spirit
Souls stirring divine dances
Leaping, joyful with life
Entertaining harmony and grace
Angels of myriads and myriads
Sentinel watchers
Merging unseen
~Travelers~
Unseen merging
Watchers, Sentinel
Myriads and myriads of angels
Grace and harmony entertaining
Life with joyful leaping
Dances divine, stirring souls
Spirit and flesh creating
Breath spoken.

Echo poem:

In an echo poem, a technique invented by Aurélien Dauguet in 1972, one or more people write on a piece of paper divided into two columns. After the first poet writes a line in the left column, the second poet “echoes” by writing a stanza that rhymes or sounds phonetically the same in the right column. Many times the echo is one or two words. An example of an echo poem is Fred Chappell and John Niedzwiecki’s “Narcissus and Echo.” The echoing words create a poem of their own.

Shall the water not remember                   Ember
my hand’s slow gesture, tracing above    of
its mirror my half-imaginary                     airy
portrait? My only belonging                      longing
is my beauty, which I take                          ache
away and then return, as love                    of
of teasing playfully the one being             unbeing.
whose gratitude I treasure                         Is your
moves me. I live apart                                 heart
from myself, yet cannot                              not
live apart. In the water’s tone,                   stone?
that brilliant silence, a flower                    Hour,
whispers my name with such slight         light
moment, it seems filament of air,             fare
the world become cloudswell.                   well.

Automatism:

When Surrealist poets use automatism, or automatic writing, they write without controlling their conscious thoughts. In essence, they write whatever comes to mind. Breton stated that poets should not filter, edit or shape automatic writing because the words should be vivid and raw. The leader of the Surrealist movement used automatism when writing Soluble Fish:

The ground beneath my feet is nothing but an enormous unfolded newspaper. Sometimes a photograph comes by; it is a nondescript curiosity, and from the flowers there uniformly rises the smell, the good smell, of printer’s ink. I heard it said in my youth that the smell of hot bread is intolerable to sick people, but I repeat that the flowers smell of printer’s ink. …

Cut-up technique:

In the cut-up technique, a writer cuts text printed or written on paper and rearranges the words to create a new work. Latent news is a similar technique in which a writer cuts words or phrases from a newspaper article and quickly rearranges them. Many people unknowingly practice this Surrealist technique with refrigerator magnets that have words printed on them.

5 Things to Know about Surrealist Poetry

surrealism

André Breton’s Le Manifeste du Surréalism (Manifesto of Surrealism) in 1924 sparked a cultural movement that unlocked limits. Surrealist artistic philosophy follows the premise that Breton set forth—that “omnipotence of dreams” and “disinterested play of thought” take precedence over logic and reason. The forefathers of the movement felt inspired by ideas surrounding the power of unconscious thought, and used writing and art to reconcile the unconscious mind with rational life.

A Guide to Surrealist Poetry

1. Beginnings in Dadaism and Freudian inspiration: The Surrealist movement grew out of Dadaism, which broke codes regarding society’s accepted values and conventions. Surrealism aimed to be an instrument of knowledge, as those who followed the movement believed that the subconscious contained true reality. Poets who followed the surrealist movement agreed with Freud’s theory that the unconscious mind is deeper than the conscious mind.

2. A higher reality and point sublime: Surrealism involves the concept of a reality that is higher than the reality that individuals experience in everyday life. Poets who followed the movement focused on the reality created by the waking consciousness, which unites imagination and the real world, subjectivity and objectivity, and dream states and wakefulness. Breton stated in The Communication Vessels that the real and dream worlds are the same; the mind in each state of being communicates like two connected vessels. This principle is also known as point sublime, which is the realization of surreal unity—the point at which contrasts merge, such as life and death, beauty and ugliness, the past and future.

3. The marvelous and objective chances: The concept of the marvelous, or aggravated beauty, had a large role in Surrealist poems. Marvelous concepts depicted in these poems portray the ongoing anxiety that underlies the human experience. The involuntary shudder that marvelous images cause is the result of objective chances—the juxtaposition of two terms that seemed to conflict with each other, but are secretly related.

4. Delirious love: Following Breton’s lead in the Second Manifesto, Surrealists celebrate love as the only idea that unites every individual to the idea of life, even if for a brief moment. Therefore, passionate commitment is a liberating force.

5. Automatic writing: Some surrealist writers used automatism. This means that as a poet writes, there is no conscious control over thoughts. She or he writes whatever comes to mind. According to Breton, a Surrealist poet should not filter, select or shape his or her writing. The words should be raw and vivid.

Examples of Classic Surrealist Poetry

Choose Life (excerpt)
Choose life instead of those prisms with no depth even if their colors are purer
Instead of this hour always hidden instead of these terrible vehicles of cold flame
Instead of these overripe stones
Choose this heart with its safety catch…
-André Breton

Arp
Turns without reflections to the curves without smiles of shadows with mustaches, registers the murmurs of speed, the miniscule terror, searches under some cold cinders for the smallest birds, those which never close their wings, resist the wind.
-Paul Éluard

Series
For the splendour of the day of happinesses in the air
To live the taste of colours easily
To enjoy loves so as to laugh
To open eyes at the final moment
She has every willingness.
– Paul Éluard

Enigmas (excerpt)
You’ve asked me what the lobster is weaving there with
his golden feet?
I reply, the ocean knows this.
You say, what is the ascidia waiting for in its transparent
bell? What is it waiting for?
I tell you it is waiting for time, like you…
-Pablo Neruda

Mobius Strip
The track I’m running on
Won’t be the same when I turn back
It’s useless to follow it straight
I’ll return to another place
I circle around but the sky changes
Yesterday I was a child
I’m a man now
The world’s a strange thing
And the rose among the roses
Doesn’t resemble another rose.
-Robert Desnos

[Photo from Ian Palmer via CC License 2.0]

5 Reasons to Take a Poetry Class

poetry words

Poetry is a universal language. It is a fluid art form. Whether you’ve dabbled in writing a few lines of free verse on a napkin or can recite Shakespearean sonnets from memory, there’s always room for poetry in your life. One of the best ways to get the most out of the lines and stanzas that you read and write is with a poetry class. Keep in mind that there are different types of poetry classes. Some teach you about the masters, some encourage you to write, and others are a blend of both. Whichever you choose, it’s a decision that will enhance your life in more ways than anticipated.

Why Take a Poetry Class

Improve your writing skills: Everyone needs to know how to write. It’s essential for communicating with others or advancing your career, regardless of your field. A poetry class shows you how others used their words to emphasize a point. You will also learn how to give your words meaning and impact, making them something that others want to read.Poetry forces you to think about word choices, as well as the use of grammar, punctuation and capitalization. If these aren’t your strong suits, a poetry class will reinforce what you’ve learned. A fantastic aspect of poetry is that it also allows you to break traditional rules to give your work stylistic flair, like E.E. Cummings did. Take a poetry class to improve your writing and find your voice.

Enhance your network: Poetry students come from all walks of life and backgrounds. They aren’t taking the class because they’re good writers. They’re there to explore an interest, just like you. They offer different points of view—a different way to look at and interpret life. You might make personal connections with those who are seemingly the opposite of you, giving your life added vibrancy. An appreciation for the written word goes a long way, even if you are just learning.

Develop your critical thinking skills: In poetry, you’ll quickly find that words carry a deeper meaning than their dictionary-given definitions. When you read the works of others, you’ll learn how the events of the time—personal, political and religious—inspired a writer’s words. You’ll also learn to use your own experiences to shape the words and thoughts that you put on paper.

Improve your memory: Some poetry classes ask students to memorize and recite poems. If you do not enjoy public speaking, don’t let this aspect of a poetry class put you off. Memorizing poems may help improve your memory, as the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project When you commit words to memory, you make associations that assist with this and other memorization tasks. The more you train your brain to memorize, the more you’ll remember.

Learn to cope with negative emotions in a healthy manner: Poetry fosters emotional and social learning that builds resilience. Society doesn’t often promote talking about difficult and unexplainable topics in life. Reading the words of others may provide insight into your own emotions. Putting your emotions on paper may provide you with a new understanding of yourself and your strength. Exploring the arts provides you with an appropriate, healthy channel to discover and express how you feel by giving you an outlet for emotions.

Poetry class and poetry writing isn’t only about analyzing words. It’s about enriching your soul, making sense of the nonsensical, and finding words that communicate the deepest parts of your being. And, don’t forget, poetry is fun. Use a poetry class as a tool that helps you get the most out of what you read, write and love.

[Photo from Steve Johnson via CC License 2.0]