In recent years several scholars have wrestled with the term “poetic thought,” suggesting in various ways there is something distinctive about the nature of meaning as it occurs/unfolds through poetry. In this paper I suggest, in part following the lead of Simon Jarvis, that one of the most fruitful lines of inquiry for exploring this idea lies in a consideration of poetic works through the lens of Heidegger’s early phenomenology. Specifically, I argue that one of the keys to understanding poetic thought lies in a flaw within Heidegger’s ontological divisions between substances, equipment and Dasein, as presented in Being and Time (1927). Through an analysis of three poems by Frank O'Hara, I argue poetry that examines and represents the physical world presents a problem for Heidegger when he suggests equipment in the world must necessarily “withdraw” in order for us to engage with it authentically. To address this, the term environment-at-hand is introduced to describe the relationship between artists and the surrounding environments used for their work. Poetic thought is here conceived as the point where poetry and phenomenology collide; where poetry reflects and enacts the fact that humans are inherently engaged meaning-makers. In this way poetry does not only show us new ways of looking at the world, which it surely does, but it can help us understand the nature of being itself.
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology|
|Early online date||31 May 2018|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
- Martin Heidegger
- Frank O'Hara
- poetic thinking