In a splendidly focused and original study, Stalling makes the quest for a “poetics of emptiness” resonate with the metamorphosis in a range of American modern figures, early and late—Fenollosa, Snyder, Wai-lim Yip, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha—to imagine, translate, and enact in their poetics and life work an alternative to East/West power-dynamics as marred by legacies of imperialism and orientalism. Contexts and texts are thus made to resonate in multi-sonic elaborations, as “emptiness” becomes charged with history, situation, authority, theo-poetic implication, and exchange. ---—Rob Wilson, Be Always Converting, Be Always Converted: An American Poetics and Waking In Seoul, University of California, Santa Cruz
Far reaching yet exacting, Stalling’s study elegantly expands and complicates existing American formations of East Asia and the Pacific Rim as tied to a geopoetic internationalism that, early and late, helped transform the region. Poetics of Emptiness shows that modern American poets’ work in trans-Pacific poetry and poetics has left a lasting legacy of vision, hope, dialogue, quest, and transcultural fusion that can be drawn upon for decades to come in writers like Arthur Sze, Anne Waldman, Red Pine, or Leslie Scalapino.
A beautifully, coherently argued, and well researched book. Stalling goes---—Yunte Huang, University of California, Santa Barbara
beyond merely recovering the missing pieces in literary history; he has
instead presented a brand new reading of Fenollosa, making him a key
figure in the poetic and philosophical tradition that Stalling has shrewdly described as the 'poetics of emptiness.'
The Poetics of Emptiness brings the bubbling transpacific conversation we hear all around us to a boil. Through brilliant readings of Ernest Fenollosa, Gary Snyder, Wai-lim Yip, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Jonathan Stalling traces out the varieties of Buddhist and Daoist thought that contribute to 'a poetics of emptiness' in Asian and American poetry. An authoritative, inventive, necessary book.---—Stephen Fredman, Author of Contextual Practice: Assemblage and the Erotic in Postwar Poetry and Art
Jonathan Stalling's thoroughly researched book is a ground-breaking contribution to the recently emerging study of how Asian literature has influenced 20th century American literature. Stalling's study is an exemplary argument that American literary scholars must be more inclusive of global, "transpacific," literary perspectives. His study is a sophisticated exploration of how the Asian philosophical concept of "emptiness" transforms-but is also transformed by-the poetics of 20th century American poetry: highly recommended to a reader seeking a profound understanding of how Asian philosophy inflects American literary thought.---—Gary Storhoff, Unversity of Connecticut
Petics of Emptiness: Transformations of Asian Thought in American Poetry discusses how Asian thought processes, spirituality, beliefs, and faith has been reflected in the past hundred years by using poetry as a chart of these changes. Scholarly and thoughtful, everything from Buddhism and tradition to the law is discussed and makes for a fascinating read. Poetics of Emptiness is a key addition to any poetry or literary studies collection. - —The Midwest Book Review