Thomas Merton’s poetics of self-dissolution
This book includes a collection of essays on the poetry of Thomas Merton (1915-1968), one of the most relevant spiritual masters of the twentieth century. These scholarly inquiries are all glimpses which accurately represent his poetics of dissolution—the dissolution of the old corrupt world in favour of an apocalyptic vision of a new world; abstract categorizations of the supernatural giving way to a more direct, intimate experience of the sacred at home in the world: and above all, a fading away of “the false self”, in the light of the “true self” or “no-self”. As he wrote: “We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.” Far from leading to a nihilist pessimism, Merton’s ruthless discovery of the forms of submission to reality constitute an authentic source of strength, inspiration and joy. Sonia Petisco’s contribution closely follows the poet’s ceaseless search for a new poetic language capable of revealing the perpetual contradictions within individual and collective identities, engaging the reader in a vivid discussion which is mainly dedicated to changing the damaged and damaging thought structures of the modern world itself under the light of radical psychological and sociological research.