Though best known as poets, Adam Zagajewski (born 1945), Zbigniew Herbert (1924-98), and Joseph Brodsky (1940-96) wrote some of the most original prose of this century. It is this prose -- remarkable for its cross-cultural complexity and interdisciplinary richness -- that concerns Bozena Shallcross in Through the Poet's Eye. The travels undertaken by these Eastern European poets, who each journeyed to the West under different circumstances, give Shallcross her point of departure as she explores the connections between the sensory experience of travel and the revelatory perception of the visual arts manifest in their writings.
As Zagajewski, Herbert, and Brodsky blend observations of their surroundings with impressions of the culture's artistic achievements, their travels become "epiphanic journeys," dynamic and intensive moments of insight and motion produced by the interdependence of movement and works of art. Whether encountering visual masterpieces in the formal environment of a museum or strolling through Venice -- considered by Brodsky "the greatest masterpiece our species produced" -- these poets transformed the reality of their travels into a sublime journey of the eye. Shallcross conducts us through their testimony as it goes beyond practical goals or purely aesthetic considerations and into metaphysical peregrinations. She shows how this epiphanic perception of the visual arts follows the dynamic movement of travel, transforming the traditional view of epiphanies as frozen instants into one of creative moments that form a passage from one state to another. Demonstrating the link between works of art, the epiphanic responses they produce, and the reality of travel, these writers' journeys attest to the creative primacy of vision, the core of which is molded by still-life and abstract painting; in doing so, each poet creates a testimony that connects him to the stream of European culture.
|Publisher:||Northwestern University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 2.10(d)|