On Mount Vision

On Mount Vision : Forms of the Sacred in Contemporary American Poetry

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Plumbing what the poet Michael Palmer calls 'the dimension of the Spirit, with that troublesome, rebarbative capital letter', Norman Finkelstein's "On Mount Vision" asks how and why the sacred has remained a basic concern of contemporary experimental poets in our secular age. By charting the wandering, together and apart, of poetry and belief, Finkelstein illustrates the rich tapestry formed by the warp and woof of poetry, and the play of Gnosticism, antinomianism, spiritualism, and shamanism, which have commonly been regarded as heretical and sometimes been outright suppressed. This beautifully written work begins with an overview of the spiritual problematics found in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American poetry. Traveling slightly outside of the realm of the contemporary, Finkelstein's discussions of Emerson, Whitman, and Eliot yield to close readings of the works of Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, Ronald Johnson, Michael Palmer, Susan Howe, Nathaniel Mackey, and Armand Schwerner. In restoring verse to its place alongside scripture, Finkelstein reminds us why the sacred remains crucial to our understanding of postmodern American poetry.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 152.4 x 233.68 x 25.4mm | 521.63g
  • University of Iowa Press
  • Iowa, United States
  • English
  • 1587298570
  • 9781587298578
  • 1,867,697

Review quote

"On Mount Vision" is an excellent book, one whose value exists on the level of explanation to be sure, but more powerfully, more suggestively, on the levels of persuasion, and of myth and metaphor, where one encounters the archetypes of the poet as priest, prophet, seer, antinomian, heretic, and scholar-translator. Finkelstein provides a lucid model for how to read and understand the often difficult and quarrelsome poetry that is his subject. This book will take its place as "the" exemplary study of the religious aspect of the works of contemporary American poets. Peter O'Leary, author, "Gnostic Contagion: Robert Duncan and the Poetry of Illness" "show more

About Norman Finkelstein

Norman Finkelstein is a poet and literary critic in the Department of English at Xavier University. His books of poetry include Scribe, Restless Messengers, Passing Over, and the three-volume serial poem Track. His works of criticism include The Utopian Moment in Contemporary American Literature, The Ritual of New Creation: Jewish Tradition and Contemporary Literature, and Lyrical Interference: Essays on Poetics.show more

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