The Recovery of the Public World is a collection of texts and talks which address the work of poet Robin Blaser and the field inhabited by his work. It is a field in which the private and the public are grounded in a poetic thinking that operates within the problematics of companionship and community. The companions are “you, dear reader,” the ghosts of Pindar, Duncan, Dante, Sappho, Spicer, Nerval, Mallarmé … and the inquiring voices, echoing throughout this book, of Arendt, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Lacan, Deleuze, Agamben, Serres, De Certeau, Nancy, Ronell.… The community is an “image-nation,” a community in which, in Robin Blaser’s words, “the struggle in philosophy and poetry [is] central to our private and public lives.” Speaking, writing, working out a poetics like Blaser’s, which is both furious and intelligent, compassionate and amiable, as well as active in its imagination, offers to many of us a means of resistance to that “conditionless condition” which characterizes the common predicament of the mass societies in which we live.
The Recovery of the Public World provides an introduction to that work which, until very recently, was the least well-known major body of work of all the poets who were included in Donald Allen’s ground-breaking anthology, The New American Poets. That Robin Blaser is one of the great North American poets is a fact which many of his peers have known for some time; the availability of The Holy Forest in print and the publication of the essays from three generations of poets from Canada, the U.S.A., the U.K. and New Zealand in The Recovery of the Public World now ensure that a wider reading public will know it as well.