Essays on Image and Vision
$19.95 paperback (9780899241289)
hardcover not available
Published: August 2012
220 Pages, 6 x 8.5 in.
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Earth Recitals: Essays on Image and Vision consists of eight essays on the life of the image, and its role in visionary experience, through a range of cultural practices, focusing primarily on poetry but including painting, sculpture, and song. It is not meant to be a mapping, however abbreviated or incomplete, of the various appearances of the image in the history of poetry, though it does engage with this history, as well as with contemporary poets, philosophers, archeologists, artists, and cultural critics whose work explores the image and how it might help us to navigate the almost impossibly large subject of the human in relation to the natural world. Instead, in investigating the differences between image and vision, allegory and symbol, the abstract and the concrete, the intention is to explore the question: how might we draw on our encounters with the non-human, whether we are writers or not, to enlarge our consciousness as human beings, and thus, to live more wholly? Or put another way: how might poetry facilitate and transform our initial perception of a “thing” into another form of being, more closely resembling a dialogue between object and subject? Most importantly, the author is interested in the potential of the image—particularly the natural image, the image from the non-human world—to bridge the increasing rift between human consciousness and nature’s consciousness, to investigate how “the shaping spirit of Imagination,” as Samuel Taylor Coleridge called it, might help unite “the living self to the living outer world.”
Melissa Kwasny has published four collections of poems, two novels, and the celebrated anthology, Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry, 1800-1950 (Wesleyan, 2004). She is also, with M.L. Smoker, editor of I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poems in Defense of Global Human Rights (Lost Horse Press, 2009). She lives in the mountains near Jefferson City, Montana.