"...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, October 25, 2018

Corbin & American Poetry #??

Michael Boughn on Charles Olson at the 1965 Berkeley Poetry Conference:

"The happening that Olson staged—and trust me, he knew exactly what he was doing—broke every rule of conference etiquette in the book. He got drunk in front of the audience. He wouldn’t read a whole poem all the way through. He continually followed the digressions of his thinking in order to be open to revelation rather than force his thinking into a proscribed etiquette. It was a ta’wil, a revelatory spiritual event, not a “reading,” and that really pissed a lot of people off, including good friends such as Duncan, who left. But Olson didn’t care. He saw what was coming. Have you been to one of those verbal circle jerks they call poetry readings these days? Talk about institutionalized, from the form—three readers, no more than 10-15 minutes to show your stuff, open mic at the end (the open mic is to be sure someone comes)—down to the generic poetry reading rhythm and the stifling silence of the audience. He tried to stop it before it took root, to smash the institution right there, on the spot."


with Michael Boughn and Kent Johnson conducted by Steven Manuel

in Chicago Review.

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