A Temple of Texts by William H. Gass

By William H. Gass

Winner of the 2007 Truman Capote Award for Literary feedback, A Temple of Texts is the newest serious assortment from certainly one of America's maximum essayists and novelists. right here, William H. Gass will pay homage to the readerly facet of the literary adventure via turning his serious sensibility upon all of the books that formed his personal improvement as a reader, author, and man or woman.

With essays on figures starting from William Shakespeare and Gertrude Stein to Flann O'Brien and Robert Burton, Gass creates a "temple" of readerly devotion, a suite of severe explorations as incredible and incisive as readers have come to count on from this literary grasp, but additionally a shockingly own window into the author's personal literary improvement.

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Such editorial choices both support and undermine the poet's changing preoccupation with the visible and its connection to the invisible. Graham's next book is the collection Photographs and Poems, in which the poet's work accompanies that of photographer Jeanette Montgomery Barron. All of the poems in Photographs and Poems reappear in slightly revised form in Graham's most recent volume, Swarm, but the photography with which the poems are first presented mollifies the stark absence of the visible world in the poems.

Hinting at the existence of a unifying force or connectivity-what "hooks" together the invisible and visible-the poem establishes that "the simplest form of current" consists of both what we can perceive even if only with difficulty, as one might perceive motion in water, "[b]lue / moving through blue," and what we cannot empirically locate but what we must trust in all the same, "the objects of desire / opening upon themselves, without us; / the objects of faith" (3). Critic Eric Seligman, writing on a later book of Graham's, discusses this poem and convincingly suggests that it draws a distinction between the objects of desire and those of faith, though he intimates that they may, in fact, be one and the same: he explains, These washes of color and involuted assertions define two sorts of objects: those of desire, which open 'upon themselves I without us' (and thus 'away'), and those of faith, which do the 'admitting,' whatever that means.

The speaker's lack of knowledge of what lies beyond the visible is paralleled in the poem by her inability to characterize it in language. Though the poet has hinted at the contingency of our experience of the material world upon a larger scheme, the nature of that transcendent scheme never materializes in the poem. In fact, even the contingencies the speaker imagines in the material world are only processes, rather than flXed relationships. As in a chemical reaction, or "solution," the "resistance"-a barrier between objects or perhaps even between one realm and another-is "lessened" or even "increased" and some equilibrium is reached (3).

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