From Book 2: Desnos, the Select, and Theatre Alfred Jarry

Author’s note: I have long been frustrated with misinterpretations of Artaud merely as “mad,” a cold person, and a failure. Like Martin Esslin correcting the Beats’ version of Artaud, Kimberly Jannarone unearths the powerful admiration Artaud’s friends and colleagues had for him and I am grateful to her for restoring the Theatre Alfred Jarry toContinue reading “From Book 2: Desnos, the Select, and Theatre Alfred Jarry”

From Book 2: Insulting Priests

Consumed by guilt, I haunted the streets and the cafés, though I was beginning to tire of the crowds of sullen businessmen, and the snippy flirts who never fell in love, and the cynical young bohemians leaning over their tables to interrupt each other. Although I had not approached the Surrealist Research Bureau since thatContinue reading “From Book 2: Insulting Priests”

From Book 3: Portrait of Antonin Artaud

This is based on research of course, but it’s eerie how much I guessed before it was confirmed by research.             He was not what I expected, even after all these years. I discovered there was always more to learn about Antonin Artaud. Like me he experienced sudden vertigo, especially at high places but alsoContinue reading “From Book 3: Portrait of Antonin Artaud”

From Book 4: Breaking into Sainte-Anne

            I pulled her along with me then. An idea, Yvonne had given me an idea. Yvonne followed me all the way to the rue Fontaine, a long walk. “Are we going to see Aube?” she asked eagerly. I nodded and we entered the familiar foyer and went up the steps to Breton’s apartment. AubeContinue reading “From Book 4: Breaking into Sainte-Anne”

From Book 1: Poems into Plowshares

            Finally he finished, rolled up his rug and stood up, his face collapsing into brown wrinkles as he smiled. He nodded to me, and reached out to playfully slap Artaud’s cheek, again startling the young man. “Peace be with you both!” the Muslim cried, and slipped into the crowd. Artaud’s hand flew to hisContinue reading “From Book 1: Poems into Plowshares”

From Book 4: Domnine

I understand that Paule Thévenin’s daughter Domnine is still alive. This section is offered with respect and affection.             “Do you know what Artaud is doing now?” Breton told me. “He is learning his ABCs.”             “What?” “He feared he could not write anymore, and he said this to Paule Thévenin and her husband inContinue reading “From Book 4: Domnine”

From Book 3: Aube

I understand Aube Elléouët-Breton still lives in Paris. This fictional section is offered in respect and affection. It is October, 1937 and Jacqueline Lamba has quarreled with her husband and left Paris for a time, leaving Aube with her father.             Artaud was still lecturing in Mexico City, and Louis was preoccupied with his upcomingContinue reading “From Book 3: Aube”

From Book 2: What Does Rrose Selavy Look Like?

            After the ruckus had spilled into the street, I went backstage to say something to Artaud—I didn’t know what, something encouraging, comforting. But he was already talking to André Breton, and I heard the other side of the Youki story. Artaud listened sympathetically as Breton, who knew that Artaud and Desnos were still goodContinue reading “From Book 2: What Does Rrose Selavy Look Like?”

From Book 1: Rrose Selavy

            Over supper Desnos was enough entertainment for all of us, making up outrageous stories on the spot, encouraging us to drink more wine and then making us laugh until it was painful. However, some of his tales horrified my family as the poet related his involvement in the high jinks of Dada, the movementContinue reading “From Book 1: Rrose Selavy”

From Book 4: Trotsky and Nusch

Author’s note: I really, really mourn Nusch Éluard, too. She was Marvelous. Writing this novel series about Artaud and Desnos has led me to love – and to mourn – so many other people: André Breton (though I’m conflicted about him), Benjamin Péret, Paul Éluard, Picasso, Cocteau, Jacques Prével, Paule Thévenin, Jean Paulhan who alsoContinue reading “From Book 4: Trotsky and Nusch”