"...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.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Boundary Violations - Poems from Tom Cheetham
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It doesn’t get any more honest than this. Tom Cheetham, long known for his dedicated and engaged scholarship on Henry Corbin, here reveals another side to his lively intelligence. The poems in Boundary Violations address us to the ordinary that Emerson proposed as America’s gift to the world. Sitting at the feet of the familiar, the low, Cheetham finds himself face to face with wonder and generously leads us into its glow. - Michael Boughn
Coming from a rogue scholar of the imagination in esoteric Islam, a book of poems should be of no surprise, but this one sure is. Tom Cheetham plunges us deep into the imaginative realities of a life as far from Mecca as Maine. By turns ludic, dark, elegant, honest, with an enviable sense of the absurd, and with generosity towards existence, Cheetham is ever faithful to the turns of thought and feeling, interleaving the planes of the real into his continuous and wonderfully whacked-out song. - Joseph Donahue
There is a madcap intelligence at work in these poems, an intelligence that has given itself permission to go as far as it can. Tom Cheetham calls his book Boundary Violations (the boundaries of the voice, of the poetic line, of standard poetic discourse, of literary propriety…), but it could also be said that here, all poetic boundaries have been entirely dissolved. Charles Olson meets Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle meets Rocky the Flying Squirrel. But like other poets who insist on violating boundaries (think: Rimbaud; think: Frank O’Hara), Cheetham is absolutely serious and playing for keeps (OK, maybe not absolutely serious). In any case, I encourage you to join him in observing “the mysterious energies of life exploding off the pages…” - Norman Finkelstein
Posted by Tom Cheetham at 12:04 PM