Poppy Pod, Michelle Tennison
Reprise of an earlier post, worth revisiting
Sometimes the game itself transcends logic and seems to tap into another realm, suggesting a transpersonal consciousness at work. The following results from playing the game with Zen practitioner and haiku poet Christopher Herold give a glimpse into the more beautiful side of Surrealism, something Andre Breton called The Marvelous.
I asked Christopher 11 pointed questions, and he answered them, unseen:
What is the past?
The taste of spring water at 12,000 feet
Where is the map?
A brick path’s geometry of moss
What is the mind of God?
The emptiness inside a mirrored ball
What is truth?
This worn out pair of shoes
How do you know you’ve really made it?
The scent of a pine forest on a hot afternoon
What is the one dream?
Bagpipes skirling through a foggy dawn
What is kindness?
The receding tide depositing driftwood on the shore
Where is the nearest exit?
Linear time compressing as death approaches
What will happen when two snowflakes are exactly alike?
How can I avoid suffering?
Discovering and letting go of our attachments.
What is deep thinking?
Nothing . . . in particular
Questions Michelle Tennison, Answers Christopher Herold (2017)
Eye of the Poppy
red poppy, Michelle Tennison
sunflower photograph and haiku by Michelle Tennison
The Great Game
It is not to belittle Surrealist activity — as it has unfolded from 1924 to the present day — to consider it as a game, in fact as The Great Game, whose prizes in the eyes of those who played and lived it, can be calculated in promises of freedom, love, revolution, and in anything else that intransigent desire can aspire to.
— Philippe Audouin
I Wake Beside the Other Ocean, Michelle Tennison
Question Michelle Tennison, Answer Richard Gilbert (2017)
A Surprisingly Simple Game of Chance
— photograph by Michelle Tennison
How to play The Question and Answer Game:*
A question is written down and the paper folded to conceal it. Another player writes an answer without reading the question. The paper is unfolded to reveal the results.
What is a dream?
Question Dietmar Tauchner, Answer Michelle Tennison (2017)
*(Also known as “Definitions”) as found in The Book of Surrealist Games, Shambala Redstone editions, Boston, 1993.
“The surreal is but reality that has not been disconnected from its mystery.” — Rene Magritte
Music Coming from the Missing Pages, Michelle Tennison
What do I absorb from the sun and stars?
My mother’s voice
Question Mary Ellen Binkele, Answer Michelle Tennison (2014)
“Poetry should be made by all.” — Lautreamont
Many of the French surrealists of the early 20th Century were poets.
Maybe that’s why this game they invented (which is so easy to play) has a lot in common with exceptional poetry. At times it hits home with an epiphanic jolt and even an aesthetic rush … and it’s full of metaphors, which Aristotle considered the mark of genius.*
The fact that we’re playing a game and we laugh a lot more than we usually do with poetry is a just a nice bonus.
*The greatest thing by far,” said Aristotle in the Poetics (330 BC), “is to have a command of metaphor. This alone cannot be imparted by another; it is the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblance.”
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