Surrealism in a Minor Key

“Portrait of Gherasim Luca” (1932) by Jules Perahim. 49.2 x 34.8 cm.

“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off I know that is poetry.”
–Emily Dickinson

My review-essay of the surrealist poet-theorist-artist Gherasim Luca is in the current edition of Hyperallergic Weekend. According to Gilles Deleuze, “Gherasim Luca is a great poet among the greatest.” Luca’s surrealism is set in what I call a “minor key” in the Deleuzian sense that Luca’s poetry deterritorializes language; it is always in the process of “becoming-minor” (devenir-mineur). His writing is also “minor” in a musical sense: “with reference to the sombre, plaintive, or subdued effect associated with minor chords and keys” (OED). Even if Luca’s writing has moments of fiery exuberance, it also has a melancholic streak. But, as Susan Sontag has noted, “Surrealism’s great gift to sensibility was to make melancholy cheerful.”

~ by Michael Leong on July 28, 2012.

One Response to “Surrealism in a Minor Key”

  1. a very interesting book on Luca :http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=7582

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