"...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.

Search The Legacy of Henry Corbin: Over 800 Posts

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Corbin & American Poetry - Another in the Series

 I've lost track (again) of this series of posts, but this must be #30-something. I want to draw attention, again, to the poetry of Joseph Donahue which is deeply and explicitly in sympathy with Corbin's visionary work throughout, and to announce the publication of the next volume of his long poem: Dissolves, Terra Lucida IV-VIII, from Talisman House. I remind readers to read Peter O'Leary's fascinating appreciation of Pam Rehm and Joseph Donahue in the Chicago Review : Apocalypticism - A Way Forward for Poetry. (pdf), and these reviews of the first volume of Terra Lucida by Robert Baird and John Olson. Also indispensable in our context are Donahue's review of Rosestrikes and Coffee Grinds by Seyhan Erözçelik translated by Murat Nemet-Nejat, Talisman House, 2010 and his review of Nathaniel Tarn's Ins and Outs of the Forest Rivers, New Directions, 2008. Donahue's poetry seems to me of exquisite and breathtaking intensity.

“If one thing characterizes the active imagination Donahue brings to bear on his poem, it’s his desire that the visionary reality he has entered not be merely some dream, but a place of absolute reality. His skill at conveying this feeling seems unmatched by any other living American poet, such that parts of his poem exhibit a simultaneous lightness of touch and gravitational pull, where surrealistic follies vie with imaginal intensities.” —Peter O’Leary

“This is an episode of high romance and mystical compassion within Joseph Donahue’s on-going long poem — with the intertwining of love of the luminous earth, the erotic transformations of muse-love, and the maternal gift — the love of vocation and of the prophetic name of the poet all unrolling in an elaborated strand of meditation. The work has medieval motifs (like those of Duncan or of H.D.) reanimated in our time: forbidden lovers, lyric folds inside songs of three cultures (Christian, Jewish, Muslim), the garden, the shock of desire, the shock of sci-ence that extends mystery, the shock of death and transfiguration, all compelling in their endless aftermath. This is a book of continuous yearning, a book of cosmic creation, a book of spiritual meditation all saturated by Donahue’s angelic ear and eye.” —Rachel Blau DuPlessis

“Picasso said that whenever he painted there might not be an object, but there was the fragrance of an object. In Dissolves, Joseph Donahue combines some-thing like an object with something like a fragrance. His cubism, unglazed and personal, produces magical other dimensions.” —David Shapiro

No comments:

Post a Comment