La Poesía Sorprendida, a literary movement and journal that flourished in the Dominican Republic between 1943 and 1947, was an integral part of the broad European and Caribbean surrealist movement of the last century that viewed art as a form of resistance to fascism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism. For the sorprendistas, interior life, a realm of imagination, constituted a kind of free zone in the otherwise totalitarian social space of the island of La Hispaniola during the dictatorship of Rafael Molina Trujillo. The surprise or shock generated from manifesting poetically an unfettered inner psychic life had, for them, the potential to dislodge the minds of the colonized from an adherence to an oppressive regulation of life under the neocolonial dictatorship. However, while La Poesía Sorprendida published a wealth of notable national and international poetry and critical essays, it was a movement subject to the philosophical idealism characteristic of much twentieth-century modernism. Their belief that poetry could strengthen the imagination and inner life as a way to transform outer life expressed their over-estimation of the power of ideas to transform social relations within a regime of capital. Nonetheless, La Poesía Sorprendida stands as an important chapter in the literary and political history of Surrealism in the twentieth-century.


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pp. 96-115
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