Surrealism – 4 (Waldman on Stein and Burroughs)

“Preciosilla” from the Gertrude Stein Collection, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

This week’s transcription of the 1988 Naropa symposium on Surrealism concludes today with Anne Waldman, the final participant

Anne Waldman reads from Gertrude Stein and William Burroughs:

These are two poems by Gertrude Stein.She said of them… this is 19.. probably written in 1913, she said” the strict discipline that I had given myself, the absolute refusal of never using a word that was not an exact word all through the Tender Buttons and what I may call the early Spanish and Geography and Play period finally resulted in things like “Susie Asado” and “Preciosilla” in an extraordinary melody of words and a melody of excitement knowing that I had done this thing.”

And these are..she’s.. I think someone somewhere spoke of these as spontaneous compositions, and she uses the phrase, “the rhythm of the visible world”, and these are thought to be portraits of a Spanish dancer. So, something about that rhythm – “rhythm of the visible world’  [Anne reads “Susie Asado” – (“Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet tea/Susie Asado..”….”Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet tea)]

And this is “Preciosilla” [Anne reads “Preciosilla” – (“Cousin to Clare washing..”….”.. Toasted susie is my ice cream”)]

and another text, this is a text by William Burroughs, which is entitled “The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin, written in…I’m not sure of the date of this..probably in the ‘Fifties, late “Fifties, early “Sixties:

“At a Surrealist rally in the 1920’s Tristan Tzara the man from nowhere proposed to create a poem on the spot by pulling words out of a hat. A riot ensued wrecked the theatre. Andre Breton expelled Tristan Tzara from the movement and grounded the cut-ups on the Freudian couch. In the summer of 1959  Brion Gysin painter and writer cut newspaper articles into sections and rearranged the sections at random. Minutes To Go resulted from this initial cut up experiment. Minutes To Go contains unedited unchanged cut ups emerging as quite coherent and meaningful prose”…..”…CUT BACK. CUT FORMS. REARRANGE THE WORD AND IMAGE TO OTHER FIELDS THAN WRITING”

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-five minutes in and concluding at approximately thirty-seven-and-a-quarter minutes in

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