By Jonathan Stalling
Poetics of Emptiness traces the historically specific, intertextual pathways of a single, if polyvalent, philosophical term, emptiness, as it is transformed within twentieth-century American poetry and poetics. This conceptual migration is detailed in two sections. The first, focusing on "transpacific Buddhist poetics," discusses Ernest Fenollosa's "The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry" as an expression of Fenollosa's Buddhist poetics, explores classical Chinese poetics as it was known by Fenollosa, and talks about the role of emptiness in Gary Snyder. The second half, on "transpacific Daoist poetics," explores the career of poet/translator/ critic Wai-lim Yip and engages the weave of post-structural thought and Daoist and shamanistic discourses in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Formulating interpretive frames as hybrid as the texts being read, this book unveils one of the most important yet still largely unknown stories of American poetry and poetics.