Poetics of Emptiness
Transformations of Asian Thought in American Poetry
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright
Figures and Tables
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In the end, I will not be able to gather the names of everyone who has contributed to this project (all my relations throughout America, China, Korea, and the UK), for its gestation has been nourished from middle school, when I first began studying Chinese and poetry. To be sure, I am...
Prologue: Transformations of a Transpacific Imaginary
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In his essay “The Poem behind the Poem,” the translator/anthologist Tony Barnstone offers an extended discussion of his experience translating the poem reproduced above, by the Tang poet Liu Zongyuan (柳宗元, b. 773–d. 819). Before offering his translation, Barnstone leads his...
Introduction: The Poetics of Emptiness, or a Cult of Nothingness
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For much of the nineteenth century, Buddhism, with its emphasis on the enigmatic concept of “emptiness,” was reduced to what Roger-Pol Droit has called the “cult of nothingness.” According to Droit, Buddhism, for its early-nineteenth-century Western commentators, appeared to be an...
Part One: Buddhist Imaginaries
1. Emptiness in Flux: The Buddhist Poetics of Ernest Fenollosa’s “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry”
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On Friday, December 24, 1920, the front-page headline of the Boston Evening Transcript announced “Japan’s Tribute to Fenollosa.” Below, an image of a stone monument depicting a young Ernest Fenollosa fills more than half of the front page. The article begins: “On September 21, 1920, in the...
2. Patterned Harmony: Buddhism, Sound, and Ernest Fenollosa’s Poetics of Correlative Cosmology
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In the late summer of 2004, I was leafing through the Fenollosa papers held in the Ezra Pound archive at Yale University’s Beinecke Library when I happened upon a startling find: its second half. While many scholars have mentioned the earlier drafts of “The Chinese Written Character as...
3. Teaching the Law: Gary Snyder’s Poetics of Emptiness
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For Snyder, poetry (especially Chinese and Japanese poetry) is a vital resource for transmitting Buddhist dharma 法, fa (or 佛法, fofa). The term 法 (fa), like 空 (kong) and 文 (wen), is complicated and signifies different concepts within a wide range of cultural discourses. In Buddhist...
Part Two: Daoist Imaginaries
4. Language of Emptiness: Wai-lim Yip’s Daoist Project
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In China Wai-lim Yip (葉維廉, Ye Weilian) is recognized as a major contributor to modern East-West poetics, and he was the central focus of an academic conference held at the Center for New Poetry at Beijing University in March 2008. At the conference, more than forty scholars...
5. Pacing the Void: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée
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Through an atmosphere generated by a loose gathering of visual and cultural textures and culturally specific cues, “A BLE W AIL” calls to mind a shamanic rite, or kut, and perhaps more specifically, the Chinogwi kut, where a shaman (which in the Korean context would almost always be a...
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Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2011