If Not Higher: Lectures on the Poetics of Spiritual Presence and Absence

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Overview

This collection of lectures considers the postmodern "hermeneutics of exile" that disrupts our humanity and estranges us from nature. There needs to be a redefinition of our relation to things and of subjectivity itself through new or recovered spiritual and phenomenological ontologies such as evidenced in Kabbalah and Zen Buddhism. Overtures to this end are explored in contemporary-American nature poetry, American Transcendentalism and its deconstruction, Russian émigré literature and the art of nostalgia, Kabbalistic poetic responses to the Holocaust, Hasidic metaphysics and its artistic expressions, and Zen Buddhist poetics of presence in Japanese and American haiku and haibun.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Contributors consider the postmodern "hermeneutics of exile" that disrupts our humanity and estranges us from nature, and seek to redefine our relation to things and to subjectivity itself through new or recovered spiritual and phenomenological ontologies such as evidenced in Kabbalah and Zen Buddhism. They explore contemporary American nature poetry, American Transcendentalism and its deconstruction, Kabbalistic poetic responses to the Holocaust, Hasidic metaphysics, and Zen Buddhist poetics of presence in haiku and haibun. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820441245
  • Publisher: Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Series: Studies in Modern Poetry
  • Pages: 225

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Refiguring Nature: Tropes of Estrangement in Contemporary American Poetry 13
2 Robert Frost's "Design" as Deconstruction of Ralph Waldo Emerson's "The Rhodora" 25
3 Nostalgia and the Child Topoi: Metaphors of Disruption and Transcendence in the Work of Joseph Brodsky, Marc Chagall, and Andrei Tarkovsky 37
4 A Poetics of Absence: Kabbalist Allegory in the Poetry of Paul Celan, Edmond Jabes, and David Meltzer 55
5 The Enigma of Interpretation in Chagall's Disposition of Space 81
6 I. L. Peretz's "If Not Higher" as Midrash on the "Thirteen Qualities of Mercy" (Exodus 34: 6-7) 97
7 Lost in the Translation: Objectivity and Subjectivity in Japanese and American Haiku 107
8 "Tempering Equanimity": The Role of Humor in English-Language Haiku 147
9 North American Versions of Haibun 163
Note on the Lectures 217
Index 219
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