My Firstthings.com column last week was about Scottish poet Thomas A. Clark (not to be confused with the American poet Tom Clark). Here are the first few paragraphs:
Thomas A. Clark is ambitious. In a short essay on “Imaginative Space,” the Scottish poet describes our “late culture,” which is characterized by “derangement and disequilibrium,” the “constant and inescapable climate of a politics of bewilderment.” He proposes a plan to transform late culture into “one that is fully human.”
To achieve such a renewal, Clark begins “in the imagination.” Reclaiming space “as sites of imaginative transformation” will ultimately produce a “transformation at the level of materials and events.” Imagination can “redirect attention and awareness, invite a pause, introduce a value.” Imagination subjects spaces to “the imperative ‘as if.’”
Through imagination, “new models of order can be conceived, realised, maintained and dissolved.” Imagination frees us from anxiety when we bump up against “an objective and final reality” that cannot be other than it is, and so enables us to discover or form a world that is “less intractable.”
There’s an implied metaphysics behind this.