Confound The Wise

Unable to obtain a copy of this book via the library system, I hunkered down at a table in the basement of the UC Berkeley library where I retrieved this from the stacks. Calas was a poet and art critic who landed in NYC in 1940 as part of the first wave of emigrant surrealists. This book has been described as one that “unsettles the conscientious reader with a scattered, multidirectional, and off-centered vision.” A collection of essays about Time, Space, memory, it was a bit disjointed for me, and I jumped around a lot. I learned that André Breton nicknamed Salvador Dali “Avida Dollars” as a sneer. The below quotable bits were scribbled down by me and sometimes subtly altered, bits snipped for my convenience:
* Time and Money, combined in a dictum, expressed with fierce exactitude that conception of civilization which Protestantism has been leading us since the days of Cromwell. Inhuman morality of Benjamin Franklin.
* In a world that invents Daylight Savings Time, the sun ceases to be the measure of Time.
* The first task of the poet today is to remain lucid. (me: HELL YEAH!!)
* The addicts of novels belong mostly to that group of unfortunate people who devote themselves to fiction because they have nothing else to do at night. Bourgeois mentality as the byproduct of industrial civilization. (Note: “people” was actually “women” in his text, but this makes me puke with rage so I’ve edited the misogynist. Likely this was the cause for me changing his pronouns as I took notes; from his->her, he-> she in the following examples)
* It is because an artist refuses to submit to existing reality that she is a rebel. The poet fills the air with the breath of her revolt.
* Memory can only express regret. The function of poetry is to tempt us to love new things and lighten the burden of memory.
* Only those who have no time do not listen to the dreams of poets and pay no heed to their own.
* Without encounters, there would be no surprise and without surprise, poetry cannot be brought into the world. The poet is on the lookout for surprises, she then exceeds them by transforming them into drama.
* Publishers have become more interested in compiling information than in gathering knowledge.
* When will time cease to be money and become art?
* Will clocks exist in a better future?