A Way of Seeing: Perception, Imagination, and Poetry by John Allison, the 2003 first edition paperback from Lindisfarne, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“We usually think of imagination as a fanciful, whimsical faculty that has little to do with reality and truth. This beautifully written little book by the poet John Allison shows how ordinary imagination can be intensified to become an organ of cognition — a path of development to real knowing.
John Allison shows how poetry — poetic knowing and seeing — can reveal aspects of the world invisible to science. Three lucid chapters describe the path to true imagination, where attention is the key. First we must practice is, then we must become aware of the processes involved in it. Learning to experience ‘poise,’ we must come to terms with the shadow — all that says ‘No’ in us. The combination of attention, equanimity, and assent opens the world in a new way.
Allison then examines how poets have actually developed and practiced the kind of ‘deep seeing’ that ‘image work’ involves. For this he draws on Shakespeare, Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Goethe, Novalis, Ruskin, Hopkins, Rilke, and Octavio Paz.
The book concludes with a sequence of the author’s own poems that exemplify the philosophy and practice he has been unfolding.” — back cover
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