Surrealist Symposium, April 4-7

According to the painter Salvador Dalí, Surrealism sought to help us break free from the “shackles limiting our vision.” The spirit of this movement will be alive and well on the campus of the University of Tennessee this spring, through a Surrealist Symposium featuring world-class authors, scholars, translators, and poets, April 4–7.

The key day of the symposium is Monday, April 7, when a series of talks and readings on such topics as “Why Surrealism Matters” will be free and open to the public. Other events on Monday include a reception and book signing with authors and a Hodges Library display of rare surrealist works — along with a Dadaist field trip to UT’s well-loved Europa and the Bull fountain sculpture (that may or may not be a mock-academic hoax), and a surprise “reappearance” of the 19th-century poet Arthur Rimbaud. Note: Jackets and ties for men, hats for the women required for the field trip.

“Anyone with an interest in the wonderfully strange should attend,” said Marilyn Kallet, director of the Creative Writing Program at UT and organizer of the event. The event is sponsored by the UT Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund, the UT Office of Research and Engagement, and the University Libraries.

Highlights of the Symposium include:

  • Talks by some of the world’s foremost experts on Surrealist literature and art, including Mary Ann Caws and Mark Polizzotti, publications director at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and author of Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton
  • SurrealistSymposium

  • A Surrealist poetry reading featuring Marilyn Kallet, director of the UT Creative Writing Program, and Bill Zavatsky, former Guggenheim Fellow and translator of French poetry
  • A special display of Surrealist art and rare books
  • A three-day Surrealist Film Fest featuring a wide range of films, from pioneering short films, animated and hard-to-find foreign films, and contemporary classics
  • For a full schedule of events and list of participants, visit