Poetry, consciousness and community


The process of poetry has importantly intuitive aspects and poetry embodies an ambivalence towards consciousness and towards those activities of thought in which it is constituted. It was ability to favour doubt over the productions of the rational mind that led Keats to associate poetry with his ‘negative capability’. Consciousness is – like poetry – a floating signifier, a term of wide reference, and with a range of implications in the various disciplinary contexts in which it finds currency. Poetry, consciousness and community is about poetry, consciousness and community, about their reflexive relationships in process, and about how these relationships matter to the world today and to worlds to come. This book is interested in the nature of poetic, as opposed to other, thought; it is interested in the critical application of these forms of thought to each others’ productions, and in how poetic thought might or might not be subject to its own regime. Poetry – as practice of testing the limits of language – entails a reflexive goal: that of understanding the journey in words made possible for, and by, the poem. Poetic meaning and truth are revealed between languages (likewise between genres, between texts, between subjects); it is in this inter-subjective and inter-cultural space that the limits of language (and so of conceivable worlds) are found.
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Biographical Note

Christopher (Kit) Kelen is an Associate Professor at the University of Macau in south China, where he has taught Literature and Creative Writing over the last nine years. The most recent of Kelen’s nine published volumes of poetry are After Meng Jiao (published in 2008 by VAC in Chicago) and as from the living page – a trilingual volume of one hundred poems for Yao Feng (published in 2008 by ASM in Macao). A new volume God preserve me from those who want what’s best for me is forthcoming from Picaro in Australia. Kelen publishes in a range of theoretical areas, including poetics, pedagogy, literary and cultural studies. He is the editor of the on-line journal Poetry Macao and poetry editor for the monthly lifestyle/current affairs journal Macao Closer.

Table of contents

The Scope of the Work
Poetry and Consciousness: The Scope of Indirection
Over the Border: The Everyday Lapse
The Tropic and the Iterative: of Haunting and of Laughter
Witness and Habitation: Waking up to Ourselves
Community: The Word is a Window


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