"...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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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ronald Johnson - A Poetry of the Imaginal

Ronald Johnson's (1935-1998) poetry is "thoroughly devoted to the imaginal; his work is an elaboration of mesocosmic realities." - Peter O'Leary

Of Johnson's major long poem Ross Hair writes,

"Johnson's sense of cosmos in ARK pertinently echoes the ideas expressed by the depth-psychologist James Hillman in his essay "Alchemical Blue." According to Hillman: "The world is as we see it in our dreams and poems, visions and paintings, a world that is truly a cosmos, cosmetically adorned, an aesthetic event for the senses because they have become instruments of imagining." Like Hillman, ARK posits the world as "an aesthetic event for the senses" whose multifarious phenomena provide the eclectic "instruments of imagining" which offer insight and revelation about the nature and mysteries of the universe." See Hair's essay and his book-length study of Johnson.

 Johnson's books include:
The Book of the Green Man, WW Norton, 1967 (available online here)
ARK, Living Batch Press, 1996 - to be reissued in 2011 by Flood Editions.
To Do As Adam Did: Selected Poems of Ronald Johnson, Talisman House, 2000
The Shrubberies - Flood Editions, 2001. Reviewed here in Jacket2
Radi Os, Flood Editions, 2005

Also indispensible is
Ronald Johnson: Life and Works, Edited by Joel Bettridge and Eric Murphy Selinger, National Poetry Foundation, 2008

A wide variety of links to poetry, interviews & resources from Peter O'Leary here.
O'Leary's recent interview discusses Johnson and is well worth attention for many reasons.

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