A Draft of Light: Poems by John Hollander

By John Hollander

An excellent new assortment from certainly one of our such a lot unique poets.

Here are poems that discover the ways that traditional items open doorways to the extra hidden, unconscious truths of our internal selves: a chook of “countless colors” calls to brain “the echo . . . / of an internal occasion / From my forgotten past”; a subway bee sting inspires quickly not likely visits through the muses—a temporary understanding that's “as a lot of a / present from these 9 sisters as / Is ever given.”

Other poems lay naked the imperfect nature of our stories: truth altered via our necessarily much less exact yet possibly “truer” remember of prior occasions (“memory— / As choked with random holes as any / Uncleaned window is of spots / Of blur and dimming—begins immediately / To interfere”). nonetheless others study the dramatic alterations in point of view we endure over the process an entire life as, within the poem “When We Went Up,” John Hollander describes the numerous responses he has to mountain climbing an identical mountain at diverse issues in his life.

In all the poems Hollander illuminates the fluid nature of actual and emotional event, the connections among the straightforward issues we stumble upon each day and the ways that the which means we characteristic to them shapes our lives. just like the harmonious coming jointly of bandstand tools on a summer time afternoon, he writes, so much of what we come to grasp on the planet is “A loss of life second / Of lastingness thenceforth / Ever to not be.”

Throughout this thought-provoking assortment, Hollander finds the ways that we're consistently developing specific worlds of our personal, “a draft of light” of our personal making, and the way those worlds, in flip, constantly form our most elementary identities and truest selves.

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Extra resources for A Draft of Light: Poems

Sample text

This state of not-yet a universe is described in the Daodejing via negativa: Searching but not seeing, we call it dim. Listening but not hearing, we call it faint. Groping but not touching, we call it subtle. These three cannot be fully grasped. Therefore they became one. Rising it is not bright; setting it is not dark. 27 Nameless, formless, and without substance, this strange non- or notyet-beingness is beyond perception and the language of perceptibility. ” This state of infinite sameness is referred to as “the One” and is treated as a fecund condition, which according to Daoist cosmogony may not have a shape but does have an angle—it leans toward time, toward becoming manifest and distinct.

In other words, all things are contingent, and “dependent [on] their causes and conditions,” or pratītyasamutpāda. ” So while Hugo, like others within the Western metaphysical/philosophical tradition, looks to affirmation as a defense against the specter of nihilism, Nāgārjuna’s negative emptiness would open another route entirely. Before moving on to other Buddhist notions of emptiness, we might revisit this “negative” notion of emptiness one more time by imagining a debate between practitioners of this view: Speaker 1: Nothing is autonomous.

While shedding light on the central importance of Yip’s work to the transpacific Daoist imaginary, this chapter also takes Yip to task for his transhistorical/cultural reading of Chinese poetry as an image-laden, syntax-free (or paratactic), pure reflection of the natural world “emptied of obfuscating subjectivity,” or a “language of emptiness” (無言, wuyan), in order to move beyond latent elements of cultural essentialism in Yip’s work and to open pathways beyond the received tradition of “Daoism” in the West.

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