The Ambassadors of Death: The sister Arts, Western Canon, and the Silent Lines of a Hebrew Survivor | Sussex Academic Press, 2011
Tuvia Ruebner, winner of Israel Prize for Poetry (2008), is a Hebrew poet who lost his family in the Holocaust. He turned his personal trauma into a broad world view that engages with Western culture, his poetry highlighting correspondences with paintings by Chagall, Bruegel, Holbein, Turner and Rembrandt.
Death and loss are molding experiences in this poet’s world. Paint and sculpture masterpieces are signaled as masks, as Ambassadors of Death. Ruebner’s poems enable us to examine the tradition of various forms of artistic representation, while addressing the experience of art in a century when God ‘hid his face’ from the fate of European Jewry. And as Shahar Bram discovers and elaborates, herein lies an exquisite example of the use of ekphrasis--Ruebner using his poetic language medium to explain and process the meaning and messages inherent in a select group of paintings and sculptures of cultural significance.
This important book contributes to the interdisciplinary theory of “word and image”, and the history of the relationships between “sister arts”. The result is not only a unique perspective of traditional Western art form as reflected in the eyes of a Hebrew survivor of twentieth-century Holocaust atrocities, but, in the words of Ruskin, it is “the expression of one soul [one artistic form] talking to another”. The result is a profound understanding of the central principles of word and image art forms.
Charles Olson and Alfred North Whitehead: An Essay on Poetry | Bucknell University Press, 2004
Through a detailed and thoughtful study of the impact of Alfred North Whitehead's philosophy on Olson's aesthetic theory, this book points out the conceptual unity underlying what seems to be a sprawl of fragments in Olson's major work, "The Maximus Poems. It is a systematic analysis of the specific ways in which Whitehead's philosophy offered Olson a way to combine a scientific and mythopoeic view of time and space. From this, Olson constructed a poetic that could renew human contact with the external world and rid poetry of the traditional western imperial ego. The author uses Olson's philosophical investment in Whitehead in order to explain not only the content of Olson's verse, but its formal, structural elements. It illuminates Olson's theory of the Long Poem as an "all-containing" corpus, governed by the metaphysical principles, equal to life itself, enacted in the process of working on "The Maximus Poems."