THE WAY OF POETRY
ESSAYS ON POETICS
AND CONTEMPLATIVE TRANSFORMATION

by
PATRICK LAUDE

ONEONTA PHILOSOPHY STUDIES
HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES

CONTENTS

Introduction 1
Hindu Poetics: 17
The Liberating Word
Islam: 58
Sufism and Poetry
Lu Chi's Wen Fu: 102
Poetry as Contemplation
in the Chinese Classical Tradition

Japanese Poetry: 140
The Sketch of Metaphysical Perception
Western Poetics: 181
Inspiration, Self-Knowledge,
and Spiritual Presence

Conclusion 222
Bibliography 227
Oneonta Philosophy Studies 232



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INTRODUCTION

The connection between poetry and contemplation has been highlighted on many accounts and in many ways, so much so that it has become a sort of truism. In common parlance, the poet is often considered as an intuitive and meditative soul who enjoys a rare ability to contemplate reality in a more profound and subtle way than most of his fellow humans do. Accordingly, one often deems poets to be endowed with a mediumistic ability that somehow allows them to gain access into the deepest layers of reality. By virtue of this ability, the poet was traditionally conceived as a mediator or a channel between the essence of things and the magic of words, crystallizing his perceptions into sounds and images that pierce through the veil of trivial usage and bring miracles out of language. However, the idea of poetic contemplation covers a wide spectrum of phenomena, and while all genuine poetry is in a sense “contemplative,” it does not follow that the discipline of contemplative practice necessarily enters into the alchemy of poetic creation; hence the need to specify the scope of our understanding of contemplation.