Born in the United Kingdom to an Egyptian family that soon moved to Cairo, the writer Joyce Mansour came in contact with Surrealism at about twenty, and upon the publication of her first poetry collection in 1953, became a touchstone for the Parisian cultural milieu. Even the title of her first work, Cris (Screams), suggests that her compositions are far from the lyricism of traditional poetry, but rather a way of howling out feelings often linked to sex or erotic performance. Moving beyond the Surrealist idea of the femme enfant or amour fou, Mansour’s poetry uses unfiltered language to describe an emancipated woman who is unafraid to follow the crudest sexual impulses, knows how to handle them, and can be both alluring and dangerous. The first edition of her collection Les Damnations, published in 1966, alternates Mansour’s text with eleven etched illustrations by Chilean artist and architect Roberto Matta. The oppressive world of despair evoked by the title is captured in these chaotic visions, from which naked, clearly female bodies emerge. Matta’s images are perfectly in keeping with the classic dreamlike style embraced by Surrealism; yet they accompany the words of a proud, rebellious woman who knows when to use her body as a weapon or indulge its whims.