Study Guide

Central Heating Calling Card

By Pierre Reverdy

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Calling Card

Breathless Surrealism

Reverdy was one of the major players in the rise of Surrealism, a literary and artistic movement that stressed the importance of dreamlike, surprising imagery. Surrealism attempted to connect the subconscious and conscious worlds, breaking down traditional logic in an attempt to establish a new, more breathtaking logic—the logic of dreams and images and wonders. An effect of the surrealist aspects of Reverdy's poems is to, well, leave his readers a little breathless after they've run along behind Reverdy's wandering mind, leaping from image to image.

In "Central Heating," we see Surrealism when we imagine the heart as part of a Central Heating system, when we're left guessing where exactly the poem is taking place and who exactly it's talking about, and when we think about someone's heart being made out of the same stuff as the sun. If you think about this poem like a mathematician or a lawyer, it's not going to make very much sense. It's illogical, and the pieces don't always fit together. But let your mind be free and open to marvels and magic, and the poem will have an effect that is beyond logical analysis.

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