Illuminations: A Series on American Poetics
Edited by Jon Thompson
Information and Pricing
978-1-64317-176-0 (paperback; $18.95); 978-1-64317-177-7 (PDF, $9.99) © 2019 by Parlor Press. 106 pages with notes, art, and bibliography.
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What People Are Saying
"Every poem an epitaph, every poem a ticket to ride, from Sappho’s 'bittersweet' eroticism to the 'wild civility' of Robert Herrick. Martin Corless-Smith is a poet, painter, and translator of canonical poems, and each of these vocations is on view in this memorable defense of poetry as he reads from Virgil to Notley in sight of the impossible blue of Bellini’s Doge Leonardo Loredan and Piranesi’s otherworldly Pyramid of Cestius while contemplating the paradoxes of the finite body of the poet dreaming immortal poetry." —Keith Tuma
"Querying the embodiment of poetry, Corless-Smith begins in the body of the poet—living and/or dead—and passes from there through the body of the reader in order to argue the mutual construction of the body of a poem as a shared body and a new commons, which, like all things vital to survival—air, water, hope—must be maintained as open and available to all. These succinct, elegant essays perform this maintenance and, in the process, return us to all poetry charged with the energy and insight necessary to continue that maintenance ourselves." —Cole Swensen
About This Book
The Poet’s Tomb contains five interconnecting essays that explore the idea of consciousness in poetry, tracking work from Anne Carson and Sappho to W.G.Sebald’s and artist Paul Nash’s take on Sir Thomas Browne’s Urne Buriall. Using a mixture of contemporary theory, philosophy, poetry and art, the book explores ideas of the dichotomy of mind and body, determined to locate consciousness (the soul) and the sublime in the deictic articulations of the material. The central essay, The Poet’s Tomb, discusses the fixation of locating a poet’s body as a desire to place the uncanny “living” aspect of the poem in the body of the poet, and eventually in the place of internment. Exploring the work of poets ranging from Virgil to Alice Notley, the essay attempts to unpick the nostalgia for origins of poetic consciousness in the person of the poet and to see poetry as a communal apparatus that provides an exosomatic material realm of consciousness, something akin to Heidegger’s description of language as the house of Being.
About the Author
Martin Corless-Smith was born and raised in Worcestershire, United Kingdom. He has a BA and MFA in painting and printmaking as well as an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD in Creative writing from the University of Utah. He has published seven collections of poetry, most recently The Fool & The Bee (Shearsman, UK 2018), a novel, This Fatal Looking Glass (SplitLevel Press, 2015) and a translation, Odious Horizons: Some Versions of Horace (Miami University Press, 2019). He is currently working on translating contemporary Italian poetry. He writes, paints, and teaches in Boise, Idaho, where he lives with his partner and her dogs, cats, parrots, and children.
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