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According to Jean-Paul Curtay in La Poesie Lettriste (Paris 1974), Lettrism was conceived in Romania by Isidore Isou in 1942, when he was only sixteen years old.

Lettrism was a response to what the Lettrists saw as André Breton control of surrealism and an attempt to popularise poetry. The lettrists worked in a variety of forms including sound as well as graphic arts involving letters.

Isou travelled to Paris where the Lettrist movement was formed. A split in the movement lead to the formation of the Lettrist International.

Lettrist works include Lexique Des Lettres Nouvelles.

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