"...the Imagination (or love, or sympathy, or any other sentiment) induces knowledge, and knowledge of an 'object' which is proper to it..."
Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was a scholar, philosopher and theologian. He was a champion of the transformative power of the Imagination and of the transcendent reality of the individual in a world threatened by totalitarianisms of all kinds. One of the 20th century’s most prolific scholars of Islamic mysticism, Corbin was Professor of Islam & Islamic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Teheran. He was a major figure at the Eranos Conferences in Switzerland. He introduced the concept of the mundus imaginalis into contemporary thought. His work has provided a foundation for archetypal psychology as developed by James Hillman and influenced countless poets and artists worldwide. But Corbin’s central project was to provide a framework for understanding the unity of the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His great work Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi is a classic initiatory text of visionary spirituality that transcends the tragic divisions among the three great monotheisms. Corbin’s life was devoted to the struggle to free the religious imagination from fundamentalisms of every kind. His work marks a watershed in our understanding of the religions of the West and makes a profound contribution to the study of the place of the imagination in human life.
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Sunday, April 18, 2010
Anticline - by Clayton Eshleman
One of the epigraphs to Clayton Eshleman's remarkable new book is from Mulla Sadra via Henry Corbin's Spiritual Body & Celestial Earth :
"Of all the realities that man sees and contemplates in the world beyond, those which delight, like houris, castles, gardens, green vegetation, and steams of running water - as well as their opposites - the horrifying kinds of which Hell is composed - none of these is extrinsic to him, to the very essence of his soul, none is distinct or separated from his own act of existing." Spiritual Body & Celestial Earth, 165
Kenneth Warren in his recent review of Grindstone for The Denver Quarterly writes: "For roughly half a century, Clayton Eshleman has embraced, like nobody else in American poetry, a massive practice of self-creating engagement with emotionally stirring artists, poets and psychologists. By way of editing, lecturing, teaching, translating, travelling, and writing, Eshleman has formed an interdisciplinary body of work, which through complex relationship with others feeds and radiates a powerfully realized madcap love for the rough and tumble of human experience, imagination, and instincts."
"Nobody is like him in a struggle. With ornery stubbornness, Clayton Eshleman has kept visiting the dark occasions, and brought back for us poems unlike anybody else’s. At times he makes the wildness of most poetry seem merely effete. I know of no poet who has fed so richly from the thingliness of the world beneath his feet, none who so resists the glamour of beliefs. He is a shaman without a single superstition." ––Robert Kelly