Exquisite Corpse

Susan Rosenbaum

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398779
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Exquisite Corpse

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)
  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)



This article makes the case for a sustained and growing interest in surrealism on the American poetry scene from the 1920s to the early 1960s, chiefly through a focus on the little magazines involved in adapting and publicizing surrealist work and ideals. Although surrealism's influence on American poetry from the 1960s forward has been widely recognized, its early history and influence in the United States have been just as widely overlooked, despite Dickran Tashjian's foundational work on this topic. For instance, the poet Dana Gioia comments that “one of the provocative ironies of twentieth-century literature is that during the Thirties and Forties when surrealism was transforming the landscape of European and Latin American poetry, it never took root in the United States.” It is shown that surrealism profoundly transformed the landscape of American poetry in the 1930s and 1940s, and that these surrealist roots gave vital shape and direction to the subsequent history of American poetry.

Keywords: surrealism; American poetry; Dickran Tashjian; surrealist work

Article.  16857 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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