Desnos, an exceptionally gifted poet and medium, was the révélateur of surrealism via his "sleep trances" at Andre Breton's, where his unconscious dictated word plays and strange ramblings. Desnos had been drawing since childhood, and made graphic experiments as curious as the poems for his books Langage Cuit and L’Aumonyme (1923). Some of his automatic drawings, published in 1924 in Feuilles Libres, were assumed to be the drawings of a lunatic and were presented as such. His Letters to Youki, the great love of his life, whom he met in 1931, was also accompanied by drawings. By turns a columnist, advertising executive, movie critic for the weekly Le Merle, real estate agent and radio announcer, Desnos expressed a wonderful lyricism in his poems, scripts and stories. Having many artist friends, he asked André Masson to illustrate his books, C'est les bottes de sept lieues cette phrase "Je me vois" (1926) and Le sans cou (1934); and asked Gaston-Louis Roux to collaborate on another, L' État de veille (1943). In Paris during the Occupation, Desnos was arrested by the Gestapo on February 27,1944, for his work in the French Resistance, and deported to the Terezin camp in Czechoslovakia, where he died of typhoid on June 8, 1945.
Born 1900 in Paris; died 1945 in Terezin, Czechoslovakia.