"...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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Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Vincent Ferrini/Charles Olson Writer's Place

There are better places on the internet to find information concerning Charles Olson, but given the attention I have paid in recent months to Olson's debt to Henry Corbin I will pass along this interesting news and request for support:

Writer's House Slated for Gloucester

Contact Henry Ferrini
5 Wall Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
PHOTO: Peter Anastas, Charles Olson and Vincent Ferrini, left to right, at 126 East Main Street (c.1965. Mark Power)

Gloucester may soon be home to a new cultural and literary center. When Gloucester’s Poet Laureate Vincent Ferrini died on Christmas Eve 2007, many of his friends in Gloucester and elsewhere hoped his house could be purchased and turned into a center where artistic activities could be shared with the community. Today this idea is very close to becoming a reality. Plans are progressing to establish The Vincent Ferrini/Charles Olson Writers Place at 126 East Main Street, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. This former home of Vincent Ferrini (1913-2007) lies across the harbor from Charles Olson’s (1910-1970) 28 Fort Square home. These two poets, known as the consciences of our city for over half a century, wrote about Gloucester with enlightened passion and energy. Organizers of this project believe it is only fitting that a place that honors their work and keeps their vision alive be established. Since Ferrini’s death Paul Sawyer, an old friend of Vincent’s who lives in California, has been advocating for the purchase of the house. This spring, Sawyer, a Unitarian-Universalist Minister, called Vincent’s nephew filmmaker Henry Ferrini to report that he has pancreatic cancer and has been given a year to live. With that time he wanted to put his energy toward helping to create a Vincent Ferrini/ Charles Olson Writers Place at Vincent’s East Main Street studio. The poet’s nephew was moved by Paul’s decision. “Paul’s decision has motivated so many people close to Vincent, Charles and Paul to work to make this a reality,” Ferrini said. To date the group has raised $23,000 and hopes to raise ten times that amount during the upcoming year. This would enable the organization to own the house outright, repair the building and begin to develop programs for the site, including public readings, writing workshops and residencies for local and visiting writers. According to Ferrini, the timing for this project could not be more perfect. “This year is the Centenary of Charles Olson’s birth,” he says, “and attention is focused on the poet.” The group hopes that by Vincent’s centenary in 2013 the project will be up and running, presenting programs, providing a writer’s retreat and functioning as one of the most innovative educational and cultural organization in the city. Tax-deductible contributions for the establishing of the Vincent Ferrini/Charles Olson Writers Place can be made to the Charles Olson Society and sent to Henry Ferrini, 5 Wall Street, Gloucester, MA 01930

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