At a time when the Humanities are under threat, this book offers a defense of poetry within the context of growing interest in mindfulness in business, health care, and education. The book argues that the benefits and insights mindfulness provides are also cultivated by the study of poetry. These benefits include a focus on the present, the ability to see through scripts and habits, a rethinking of subjectivity, and the development of ecological or systems thinking. Bryan Walpert employs close readings of traditional and experimental poetry and draws on scientific studies of the effects of mindfulness or reading literature on the brain. It argues the skills that poetry, like mindfulness, cultivates are useful beyond the page or classroom and ultimately are necessary to engage with such global issues as the environmental crisis.
Bryan Walpert is Associate Professor in the School of English & Media Studies at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand. His publications include the poetry collections Etymology, A History of Glass, and Native Bird; the fiction collection Ephraim's Eyes, and the monograph Resistance to Science in Contemporary American Poetry.
.-1 Introduction.-2 Mindfulness, Mindlessness, Poetry.-3 The First Fruit: Interruption to a Journey.-4 Nature, Defamiliarization, Ambiguity.-5 The Second Fruit: No-Self.-6 The Third Fruit: Poetry, Ecology, Contingency.