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This article is taken from PN Review 11, Volume 6 Number 3, January - February 1980.

Landscape of Fire (Philip Pacey) Jeremy Hooker

CHARLES OLSON took "SPACE to be the central fact to man born in America". I take place, and therefore historical time, to be the central facts to man born in Britain-since the middle of the last century, in particular, but also since Anglo-Saxon times, when elegy and a pervasive sense of those gone before, in a landscape of ancient ruins, became our dominant poetic modes. To these, before widespread secularization, one would have had to add an apprehension of the eternal, not as a subsidiary fact, but as interacting with these: it is a matter of how the things of place and time dance round the still point, of how they are shaped to embody the aspiration transcending them, of how their darkness interacts with its light.

Place and time are facts which can inhibit the poet's sense of movement, and allow the dust of familiarity to settle on all things. When religion in its traditional forms no longer makes them new, the religious sense will attempt to do so by other means. There are several ways in which English poets have perceived energy in their time-bound world, and released it in their writing, at the same time as they have seen the world afresh. It is not my purpose here to attempt an historical sketch of these several ways, but to indicate two which the poet under review has found available, and which converge in his work.

One way of releasing the energy which ...


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