Mysticism and/as Love Theory (2021), pp. 167-176
This essay studies the connection between attention and redemption in the poetry of Thomas A. Clark. It discusses the possibility of using Simone Weil’s religious philosophy to interpret Clark’s understanding of attention as ‘waiting’. It argues that while there are affinities between Clark and Weil, Clark’s poetic practice also reveals a resistance to the ascetic extremes which attention assumes in Weil’s philosophy. To think through the difference between attention as method and style, the essay then draws on the failures of Descartes’ Meditations in order to argue that only a practical, that is to say, stylistic, engagement with attention will allow for the radical attention that Weil sought but could not achieve.
Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 1–16, and American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 84, No. 3.
This thesis posits that however separated T.S. Eliot and Simone Weil are by circumstance, political affinity, and Church affiliation, their thoughts intersect at a crucial point. While Weil’s theory of decreation and Eliot’s notion of impersonality are often cast as theological and poetic innovations, they both hearken back to the Christian mystical tradition – specifically, the aspect of via negativa. Placed alongside one another, Weil’s poetic mysticism and Eliot’s concern for the spiritual reveal the capacity of poems to decreate and bring the reader to a moment of void that awaits the fulfillment of grace. This thesis will study these topics with express consideration of Eliot’s Four Quartets and Weil’s notebooks, especially Gravity and Grace.
Honor’s Thesis, Department of English, Stanford University, May 2019.
Wolsak and Wynn Publishers
Madison: WI: University of Wisconsin Press