Watchfiends & Rack Screams: Works from the Final Period

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Exact Change, 1995 - Poetry - 342 pages
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This is the first new English language anthology of Artaud's writing m nearly twenty years, and reflects an increased interest in his late work (a show of Artaud's visual art from this period was on view at MOMA throughout 19961). Clayton Eshleman's translations have won widespread acclaim, including a National Book Award. Now in its second printing.

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Watchfiends & rack screams: works from the final period

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In French poetic thinking, Artaud is one of the so-called poetes maudits, those cursed creators, whose immediate predecessors were Rimbaud and Baudelaire. Artaud, the writer-dramatist-actor, has been ... Read full review


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About the author (1995)

An early associate of the surrealists, Antonin Artaud broke with them to form the "theater of cruelty" in 1932. His goal, set forth in his long essay The Theater and Its Double (1938), was to replace the contemporary theater, with its emphasis on psychology, by a theater of myth that would reintroduce the sacred into modern life. Experiments with drugs, coupled with a long history of psychiatric trouble, led to Artaud's commitment to a mental hospital for nine years. He remains a contemporary heir to the nineteenth-century antiestablishment poets and an inspiration to contemporary theoreticians of the theater.

Clayton Eshleman's most recent publications include The Complete Poetry of Cesar Vallejo (University of California Press, 2007), Grindstone of Rapport: A Clayton Eshleman Reader (Black Widow Press, 2008), Anticline (Black Widow Press, 2010), Solar Throat Slashed (a translation of Aime Cesaire's Soleil cou coupe, with A. James Arnold; Wesleyan University Press, 2011), and Endure (a selected translations of Bei Dao, with Lucas Klein; Black Widow Press, 2011). Eshleman is the first poet to realize a huge, researched, and imaginative project, in prose and poetry, on Ice Age cave art: Juniper Fuse: Upper Paleolithic Imagination & the Construction of the Underworld (Wesleyan University Press, 2003). He was also the founder and editor of Caterpillar magazine (1967-1973) and Sulfur magazine (1981-2000). He continues to live with his wife, Caryl, in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

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