Alexandru Cosmescu [1]


Abstract: In the present text, I explore the type of double sensitivity — to experience and to language — that grounds both poetic and philosophical discourse. In this sense, both poetry and philosophy appear as discursive practices that are aware of their conditions of possibility and reflectively anchored in them, trying to find ways of exploring structures of experience and language and of expanding what is taken as given about them. In this process of exploration, structures of the affective flesh, of the intersubjectively disclosed world and of the political as inscribed in the body and newly disclosed world might be discovered, even if this project was not a part of the initial poetic agenda.

Keywords: poetry, phenomenology, discourse, sensitivity, affectivity




1. A double sensitivity

Any discursive practice is anchored in a form of life which serves as a condition of possibility for it. This is where Giorgio Agamben comes from when he writes that


“When thought and language are divided, we believe it possible
to speak while forgetting we are speaking. Poetry and philosophy,
while they say something, do not forget that they are speaking;
they remember language. If we remember language,
if we do not forget that we can speak, then we are freer,
not confined to things and rules. Language is not a tool;
it is our face, the open in which we are.”[2]


We might add that we can lose ourselves in the perlocutionary dimension of speech as well. We can be “confined” not just by “objects” or “rules”, but by what we are trying to accomplish through our speech — getting so lost in what we want from the other that we forget our own embodied being there in co-presence, speaking — or the distance between us, the presentified other of the address.

But if we remember language — through poetry or philosophy — and speak while being aware of our speech, what becomes disclosed to us? Would it even be possible to reclaim as ours the language in which we find ourselves already immersed, through becoming aware that it is us who speak and that it is us who speak, that it is not just a matter of “language speaking” — but of bodies being present together with other bodies, speaking and listening to each other while being aware of speaking and listening — or writing to each other and reading each other while being aware of writing and reading? And what would even make such a project possible? What form of life would ground a discursive practice like this? And what form would such a practice take?

I would claim that such a project would involve, as one of its main practices, something akin to the phenomenological epoche — a return to the lived immanence of the affective embodied subjectivity, already immersed in language, already inter-affecting, but still finding itself as feeling-felt flesh in its intimate self-affection. There are numerous ways of enacting variants of the epoche, and numerous motivations for it. One would be the strictly “philosophical”, in which we might be moved by a desire to inquire into the structure of experience, and which would be carried through a particular way of writing (Husserl’s “monological meditations” being the paradigmatic case). Another would be the “meditative”, in which we might be moved by a desire to simply abide wordlessly in the flux of present-moment-experiencing (the simple “being with” sensations and thoughts while “letting what is be” — a quite Heideggerian-sounding way of putting it). The “poetic” one is described, very precisely, in its modus operandi, by Natalie Depraz — who offers, in the same passage, several clues regarding its motivations as well:


“la seule écriture authentiquement phénoménologique est en fait la poésie,
qui capte avec acuité, dans son attention au singulier,
les micro-événements de notre vie, encore dépourvue d’un sens expresse,
en leur conférent une forme expressive qui apparait en total accord,
en complète isomorphie avec l’expérience vécue.”[3]


What Depraz suggests is the desire to capture something. A capture which is not necessarily conceptual, not a begreifen, a seizing through a concept, but still a rigorous way of relating to…, one that demands acuity. Supposing we accept this difference between a conceptual “grasping” and an otherwise-than-conceptual “capturing” — why would one even want to “capture with acuity” the “micro-events of our life”, for example, the gradual coming-to-hearing of the barely audible snoring of someone sleeping on a bed nearby, and one’s own change in the breathing as one hears the other snoring, and the smile as one realizes that one’s breathing changes following the other’s? What does it mean to recognize that these micro-events are still lacking an “express meaning” — that is, that their meaning is still in the making — and to find ways of putting into words the process itself of meaning-still-in-the making?

It seems that such a project involves a double sensitivity — towards the “events themselves” and towards the “expressive form” — which makes possible their “isomorphy” as a particular case of Evidenz. While the type of cognitive Evidenz Husserl uses as a paradigmatic example is the feeling of correspondence between an intuition of die Sache selbst and the utterance in which it is expressed, its poetic analogue involves a similar feeling of “isomorphy” between the “expressive form” of the poetic utterance and the intuited “micro-event” that it attempts to capture. This particular form of poetic practice — not unlike the phenomenological one — involves both an attunement to experience as it is experienced, not as we want it to be (or as we think it should befor example, “possessed of meaning” while the meaning is still-in-the-making) and to language as we actually use it, not as we imagine it will be understood (that is, being acutely aware of what poets perceive as failures, clichés, as being taken by the flow of language without checking oneself — and, thus, as letting language speak as it usually does instead of speaking with poetic acuity).

Robert Creeley’s poem Fancy can offer an extremely precise example of this kind of practice:


Do you know what
the truth is,
what’s rightly
or wrongly said,

what is wiseness,
or rightness, what
wrong, or well-
done if it is,

or is not, done.
I thought.
I thought and
thought and thought.

In a place
I was sitting
and there
it was, a little

faint thing
hardly felt, a
kind of small


The tension between meaning-in-the-making and meaning-already-made is partly expressed, as in most of Creeley’s poems, through the tension between the irregular line breaks, fracturing the “thought”, and the stanzas having a preset number of lines — four in this case. The poem starts with a set of questions — questions related to “truth” and to the difference between “right” and “wrong” in the field of action and speech — and, as readers, encountering these questions directly, we don’t even know if they are questions that the speaker of the poem addresses to us, addresses to himself, or if they were addressed to him by someone else. The punctuation is suggesting even more here: there is no question mark — there are commas, and there is a full stop. There is a flow of questions, and there is a stop in questioning — which is not actually a stop, but a way of looking in the direction pointed out by the questions — the repetitive “thought” in the third stanza. What arises, experientially, in response to this intense questioning (we don’t know what has triggered it, but we can resonate with its intensity) is “a little // faint thing / hardly felt, a / kind of small / nothing” — something “hardly felt”, a “small nothing” that actually makes a difference, a subtle, embodied, wordless affect. Still, it is put into words; not its content, but the fact of its being felt — the “there / it was” — the fact of coming in contact with it is expressed in the poetic form. There is no conceptual designation of the content of this “small nothing”, not even the assumption that there is a conceptualizable content to it that would be a direct answer to the flow of questions that start the poem, just a capturing of the dynamics of becoming aware of its presence. What Creeley’s poem “captures” is a process of wondering about a series of interrelated ethical questions and of coming in contact with an embodied response that can guide one’s action — one that might seem so subtle that it is unexplainable, yet it is still undeniably there, even if you cannot put it into words.

The fundamental commitment that anchors this kind of poetic practice is one to a way of being. I would claim that the actual commitment of poets who write in this way is more overarching than to the “singular micro-events” expressed in “singular poems”: the poems arise as part of a poetic practice that involves a certain way of relating to one’s subjectivity. Someone who is consistently writing about the subtleties of what is experienced inhabits, ipso facto, a way of life that is grounded in attunement to one’s own subjectivity. Writing poetry becomes not only a means of expressing the “micro-events of everyday life”, but also a form of practice of attunement to life as experienced at the level of micro-events. Sitting, feeling-into what is experienced-as-present or remembered, attempting to find words that would “express” it, wondering “does that sound right?”, checking again the words against what was felt, reading again what was written, scratching it, finding other words, that may sound nothing like what was initially written, but would seem to be more attuned to what was felt — this process constitutes itself into a practice for deepening one’s sensitivity / inhabiting one’s lived subjectivity even outside the process of writing. It seems that, based on a commitment to a way of being and to a valuing of the layer of “micro-events” of the everyday life (thinking they are worth “capturing” and transforming their capturing into a project), one starts learning to mutually re-attune and readjust between the layers of what is actually felt and what is written, aware of the relation between them, until one gains a deeper relation to embodied affective subjectivity, and the possibility of bringing to language even deeper aspects of it.


2. Affecting oneself, being affected

The project of exploring layers of one’s own subjectivity seems a deeply personal one. If the “micro-events” that comprise the texture of my everyday life are not about me, what are they about — or, in other words, what is me, beyond them, beyond this basic layer of embodied, affective subjectivity that is brought to expression in writing? When writing about patterns of sound, shifts in the feeling of the body, histories of touch with a sharp object and the lines it leaves on the body, the difference between rain then and rain now — is one stuck within a windowless monad, or is the sensitivity to the subjective flesh and learning to feel into its shifts a way of relearning to see the world as well, to use Merleau-Ponty’s phrase? And, in learning to see, what does one actually do?

This seems to be, according to Luke Fischer’s reading, one of the breakthroughs in Rilke’s poetic practice in the Dinggedichte — something that, apparently, he has learned in engaging closely with Rodin’s and Cezanne’s work and that led him to a practice of “seeing / writing” with close affinities to both visual art and phenomenology. Fischer claims that


“Rilke’s praxis of perceiving the world in a similar manner
to visual artists who paint en plain air led to a non-dualistic disclosure
of phenomena that cannot be attained by other means.”[5]


This practice involved, for Rilke, a form of Gelassenheit — a letting what is there be, while sitting in openness, trust, non-possessiveness, transcending his personal likes and dislikes (which does not mean ignoring them — just not letting them dictate the attitude towards the “things” that the poet was learning to get in attunement with) and a waiting for “things” to affect him in a way that he could not have anticipated (like hearing a call from an archaic statue). I would claim that this form of “opening towards things” can be operative only on the background of “opening towards subjectivity” — otherwise the poet would just recycle the clichés of the natural attitude or fall into the poetic version of what was regarded as “picture-book phenomenology” — a series of unconnected, heterogeneous album-like descriptions, as indifferent one to the other as to the subjectivity that made them possible in the first place.

The most basic condition of possibility for the poetic utterance is the presence to itself of the affective flesh, attuned to itself, and telling itself, putting itself into language. In attuning to itself — to its micro-movements of sensing, willing, desiring, feeling, remembering — it might open up to something else than itself, and, in learning to attune to it, it might impose to itself a new discipline: to leave itself to the side as if it were possible, as much as possible. Poetic subjectivity would start understanding itself as the space in which the world discloses itself — and, in order to let the world disclose itself as it is, at least a type of poetic sensitivity, like Rilke’s or Pessoa’s heteronym Alberto Caeiro, would say together with Simone Weil:


“May I disappear in order that those things that I see
may become perfect in their beauty from the very fact
that they are no longer things that I see.

I do not in the least wish that this created world should fade
from my view, but that it should no longer be to me personally
that it shows itself. To me it cannot tell its secret which is too high.
If I go, then the creator and the creature will exchange their secrets.

To see a landscape as it is when I am not there….
When I am in any place, I disturb the silence of heaven
and earth by my breathing and the beating of my heart.”[6]


The last sentence from Weil’s text is particularly poignant in this context. For this type of sensitivity, the breathing and the beating of one’s heart — the constant reminders of one’s embodiment — are so acutely felt that they start being regarded as a disturbance. Weil fantasizes about the possibility of leaving this layer behind in order to witness the “secret” dialogue between the creator and the creature, unfolding in the silence of heaven and earth, “undisturbed” by any particular self. What we can wonder about is — how does one have to be structured in order to feel one’s breathing and one’s heartbeat so acutely that they become a disturbance? What one should be after, so that one’s personal bodily presence would be a disturbance? What does it mean for the world to not fade from one’s view, but, at the same time, to stop showing itself to one personally?

Pessoa expresses a parallel fantasy in a short poem of his heteronym Alberto Caeiro:


I’ve never tried to live my life.
My life’s lived itself without me wanting or not wanting.
I’ve only wanted to see as if I didn’t have a soul
I’ve always wanted to see as if the eyes I was born with were strangers.[7]


What does wanting to see as if one did not have a soul mean? At least in my reading, Weil’s desire to not be disturbed by her own breathing or heartbeat and Caeiro’s desire to see as if he had no soul or as if the eyes he was born with were strangers are saying the same thing: subjectivity is unbearable and inescapable. When one starts fantasizing about how the world actually is beyond experience, one starts regarding the body as a burden and as a limitation — and the longing becomes, in Weil, just as in Rilke or Caeiro, one towards self-transcendence, in the hope that something transcendent will be revealed when one has transcended oneself.

Pessoa / Caeiro struggled repeatedly with this impulse — and he critiques it in other poems:


“Inner constitution of things…”
“Inner meaning of the Universe…”
All that stuff is false, all that stuff means nothing.
It’s incredible that someone could think about things that way.
It’s like thinking reasons and purposes
When morning starts shining, and by the trees over there
A vague lustrous gold is driving the darkness away.

Thinking about the inner meaning of things
Is doing too much, like thinking about health when you’re healthy,
Or bringing a cup to a spring.

The only inner meaning of things
Is that they have no inner meaning at all.[8]


In a paper on Caeiro and Wallace Stevens, Simon Critchley notices, as well, their closeness to phenomenology, and writes, with a similar allergy to metaphysics,


“in my fancy at least, I want to imagine poetry as phenomenology,
as an art of surfaces or the cultivation of what we might call surfaciality.
The problem is that these surfaces only show themselves with great difficulty,
they are enigmatic surfaces that come to appearance through the felt variations
that flow from the poet’s words. […] Poetry, in the broad sense of Dichtung
or creation, is the disclosure of existence, the difficult bringing to appearance
of the fact that things exist. By listening to the poet’s words,
we are drawn outside and beyond ourselves to a condition of being there
with things where they do not stand over against us as objects,
but where we stand with those things in an experience of what I like to call,
with a nod to Rilke, openedness, a being open to things, an interpretation
which is always already an understanding (hence the past tense)
in the surfacial space of disclosure.”[9]


What I would argue, still, is that openedness presupposes self-affection. There is no possibility of disclosure of things of the world and of exploring their surfaces that “show themselves with great difficulty” except on the basis of feeling oneself there and becoming deeply familiar with one’s own habits of forgetting oneself, losing oneself, getting absorbed in modes of being that are object-directed without noticing things-as-things (while also forgetting the fact that one is a body that can speak or is speaking). And feeling oneself there — embodied, regardless if one is wanting to erase one’s embodiment, celebrating it, or simply acknowledging it — seems to be an essential element of the practice of poetic-phenomenological sensitivity. In feeling oneself there, one starts noticing what appears as particularly alive or particularly relevant — and, if one commits to the project of writing, one starts putting it in words. This is precisely what Simone Weil is doing as well: noticing her desire to disappear, and formulating it as powerfully, concisely, and resonantly as her deeply attuned sensitivity — both to language and to the felt affective shifts — allows it: “May I disappear in order that those things that I see may become perfect in their beauty from the very fact that they are no longer things that I see.”


3. Intersubjectivity, community, politics

A body opens up to its being there, and writes as a sustained practice of sensitivity of the feeling-felt flesh, sometimes painfully aware of itself and its languaging — the perceived inadequacy of both embodiment and languaging, the failures of both, on various levels, but still persisting in sensing and writing. In the romanticized view that circulates about this practice, it seems to be a solitary and even a narcissistic one, with a heavy dose of masochism.

If we attend more closely to its conditions of possibility, and to what is accomplished through it, the picture that appears is quite different.

Poetic discourse and poetic practice arise in a system of poetic communities. Poets are both solitary and gregarious. Whether it takes the form of informal mentoring or “destinal meeting”, like that between Mallarmé and Valéry, or Pound and Eliot, a loose-knit coterie of poets, like the Objectivists, or a close-knit one, like the Black Mountain group, an occasional creative writing workshop or an institutional MFA program, there seems to be a degree of learning involved in the cultivation of both the sensitivity to language and the sensitivity to experience required for poetry to manage to accomplish the task of disclosing. On one’s own, even when one has the potential for this kind of sensitivity, one risks being stuck in received modes of speaking / writing / conceiving one’s own experience, carrying further in the natural attitude without noticing it and without coming in contact with the affective flesh in the process of writing, even if one is attempting to write “poetry”.

One is usually shaken out of one’s habits of using language (or, rather, of letting language speak) through an encounter — an encounter in which the other critiques or challenges what is seen as “not working” in one’s use of poetic language, or an encounter in which the other’s poetry shows a possibility of doing something else than what one has already done (or even taking up writing as a project). This presupposes a certain vulnerability to the other, and, like in other cases of taking up a form of practice, a conversion, an epistrophe — return to the self, awareness of the self, and a metanoia — a transformation of one’s mode of being and writing due to being exposed to the other’s critique or challenge, or simply to the other’s work that shakes you. Generally, one writes without “remembering language” and its possibilities, unless one becomes aware of it through its being pointed out — either through reading or through a personal encounter that shows the inadequacy of one’s previous, “unaware-of-language” mode of language use.

Part of learning poetic craft involves becoming able to look at one’s poems with the other poet’s impartial and sensitive gaze, to not be seduced into seeing in them what one meant to say, but actually checking whether one has simply let language speak or if one has managed to find a way to bring to language the feeling-felt layer of flesh inhabiting its world, both strange and intimately familiar, disclosing it. The gaze that checks reflectively the fitting between the poetic utterance and the sensed layer that is expressed in it is, at least initially, not fully one’s own: it is the gaze of the community of poets one belongs to, the community of poets that started becoming aware of new possibilities of language and making each other aware of them.

Poetic discourse is also, intrinsically, a form of address. Any form of discourse, even if it appears in solitude, is a sedimentation of an intersubjective structure of dialogue. The addressee — specified or not — is a function of discourse, just like the speaker is. Present to ourselves, in our immediate self-affection, we bring to language — we speak — what is disclosed as there. In bringing it to language, we also become its first addressees — in writing, we are our first readers. But we do not necessarily address ourselves to ourselves, although we have, certainly, this possibility. The addressee of the poetic text — like of the phenomenological one — is someone like us who, maybe, has not noticed in herself what we have noticed, and maybe the poem will offer her the possibility of noticing it; or maybe has noticed the same thing, and the poem will offer her the reassurance she needed; or maybe she is so differently structured, that the poem will enable her to understand how someone so differently structured functions.

The silent address of the written text is actualized orally in poetry readings and at poetry festivals, where poets are invited to perform their own work in co-presence with other poets and with the public. This reading-listening in co-presence is different from the intimate co-presence of a mentorship or a peer workshop; there might be an element of competitiveness, of unfamiliarity, of anxiety, the desire to break through to someone, to perform in front of someone, to seduce someone, to correspond to the expectation someone has formed. The poet’s voice, the poet’s presence and the poet’s text are brought together, on a stage or behind a lectern, in a way that is utterly different from the intimacy of writing and revising in one’s private space. There are authors for whom such a public performance is thrilling, and adds a missing dimension to the more private aspect of writing; there are authors who dread it and prefer a contact mediated through the published works; still, the co-presence of poetic speaking and listening is a way of forcing poetic speech that has been estranged from the body back into the body, and making others witness this process of the poet re-inhabiting her own speech.

In opening up to the “micro-events” that comprise the texture of her experience, the poet discloses layers that she might have not been aware of, and might even undermine her previous agendas. In the case of Romanian-language poetry of the late 1990s and early 2000s, for example, in a movement called “fracturism”, the “isomorphy” between poetic discourse and lived experience was thematized in a way close to the framing proposed by Depraz. Fracturist poets, in their explorations of the deeply personal layers of “reactions”, became acutely aware of the sordid character of living conditions, of poverty and discrimination, proving, without even proposing this as an explicit agenda, that the personal is political. In trusting this process of coming in contact with one’s affective flesh and writing in a way that is sensitive to it, one might disclose not just the flesh itself, or the surfaces of things, but the political inscribed in the body, like Elena Vlădăreanu was doing in her breakthrough poetry collection (her third), europe. ten funeral songs, published in 2004. I will quote a poem included in it, recent history:


this is how things stand:
mom will never
leave romania
dad will never
leave romania
if you die you’ll never
leave Romania

the shampoos I collect
from the bathrooms of your hotels, europe
all have the same perfume
like the lily-of-the valley eau de cologne
you used to buy in the tobacco shops
can’t you understand that things aren’t so very different there
where you’ll never go?


history is a piece of the wall
in a city at europe’s center
history is the corner of a photograph

in every street urchin ragged and high
there’s a part of me
in every dog haunted and starved
there’s a part of me
in the men drunk and caked with vomit
the brave men of our people
reeking of urine rot and fear
there I am too and my name
is romania.

my wealth: a few hundred books
a red plastic basin
an old iron
a radio
a tea set
the color of earth
a proud and ruthless soul
a damned termagant skin
a bored God
lust like a lethal guilt

you walk down the streets
of a city at europe’s center
my cowardice and lack of hope[10]


The disclosing character of the poetic speech is announced in the first line: “this is how things stand”. The speaker is one that discloses things as they are — and starts from the almost prophetically sad proclamations of the older generation’s inability to leave the place they were born in (something particularly relevant for Eastern Europe). How personal is it, though, to speak about one’s mother and one’s father in a poem? In saying that they won’t leave the place they were born, while you are leaving it, at least from time to time, collecting shampoos from hotel bathrooms, what are you saying about yourself? The poet is enacting a passage from an identity that seems personal to the discovery of the more-than-personal in the second part of the poem “there I am too and my name / is romania”. It is not the all-inclusive, vibrant and buoyant Whitmanian identity that “contains multitudes”. Rather, it is the recognition of the self in what it encounters and what it would rather not take as itself — and it is precisely this affective movement, “this cannot be me”, that shows her “oh, this is me, but not the me I think I am, just what my country is — and what I am through belonging to it while rejecting that in myself”. In exploring her own subjectivity, Vlădăreanu breaks through towards the political: how does one relate to a country that one knows one would not let go of, because it has shaped one into what one is? What is the relationship between one’s own background of poverty and the comparative richness one experiences while living abroad in relatively privileged conditions? What is left behind when one goes away? Is what is left behind really left behind? These questions implicitly drive the poetic exploration. The repetitions, the enumerations, the broken rhythm, the direct address enact not just a simple stating of things as they stand, but a lingering on them, a dwelling with them, a preoccupation with them — in the mode of a sadness bordering with despair and guilt.

In learning to dwell with one’s affective flesh, anchored in a sensitivity that is already there, the poet deepens it — or sharpens it — and attunes to the layer that Depraz calls “micro-events”, which, when pushed far enough, opens up both to the “flesh of the world” and to the realm of the political. A parallel process involves a learning to dwell with language and its possibilities, being aware of them and regaining agency through working on them. This is what happens, for example, in the decolonisatory poetry project of the Tatar poet Deenara Raswleva, a native Tatar speaker that lost her native tongue and wrote in Russian for decades. Recently, in the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, she started writing — for the first time — poetry in Tatar, using the Latin alphabet (which is still regarded as a “foreign” one for the languages spoken in the Russian Federation), and combining the little Tatar that she can use with the other languages she speaks. The pushing of the limits of language, the discomfort of speaking a language that one feels as one’s own and yet cannot speak freely, subverting the “official” alphabet with one whose use was attempted and then repressed, are yet other possibilities that open up when a poet speaks while not forgetting that she is speaking.


Concluding remarks

When regarded as a practice, the writing of poetry becomes a way of life anchored in several commitments and exercises that bear a strong family resemblance with phenomenology.

One such commitment is the valuing of the texture itself of the everyday life — the trust that something of value is to be discovered by its exploration and “capture”. The poet (or the phenomenologist, for that matter) begins exploring it and fixing it in language. The motivations may differ, but both the attitude and the means remain strikingly similar: an attempt to connect to the subtle fluctuation of the affective flesh / embodied subjectivity, which presupposes a deep sensitivity to experience. Unbearable as it may be even in its simple presence, the feeling-felt flesh is there, given, as a basis starting from which the world is given too. In “opening up” to the affective flesh, we find out that not only the flesh is given. Together with it, the world is disclosed, in its simplicity or complexity, with its surfaces and things, presences and absences, beings and memories. An attempt to give an account of experience would “open up” towards — or disclose — the world as well.

Another one is the commitment to language. More precisely, to not simply let language speak, but find a form or discourse that would be felt as adequate to the experience it attempts to express. In becoming aware of the fact that they speak, poets become aware of possibilities of language that were not given as possibilities before taking up the writing of poetry as a project and as a practice. The rigorous, “acute” process of “adjusting”, of “finding the way of saying” that corresponds to what is experienced allows both a deepening of sensitivity to what is experienced and a deepening of sensitivity to language. Intersubjective from the start, this process presupposes awareness of the inadequacy of one’s own previous ways of using language, discovered through an encounter with the other — either through the other’s poetry, or through critique.

Pushed far enough, the process of writing starts disclosing the unexpected. For example, one’s writing, even despite one’s initial agendas, might become deeply political: the political is inscribed in the affective body, in the disclosed world, and in language. In becoming sensitive to them, one’s writing might start gaining political overtones, implicitly or explicitly, creating new layers of commitment, that disclose both new possibilities of language and new structures of experience, including the intersubjective layers.





Agamben, Giorgio. When the House Burns Down: From the Dialect of Thought. New York: Seagull Books, 2022.

Creeley, Robert. The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975, Volume 1. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

Critchley, Simon. “Surfaciality: Some Poems by Fernando Pessoa, one by Wallace Stevens, and the Brief Sketch of a Poetic Ontology.” Gramma: Journal of Theory and Criticism, vol. 14 (2006): 109-129,

Depraz, Natalie. Écrire en phénoménologue: «une autre époque de l’écriture». Paris: Encre marine, 1999.

Fischer, Luke. The Poet as Phenomenologist: Rilke and the New Poems. Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

Pessoa, Fernando. Alberto Caeiro: Complete Poems.

Vladareanu, Elena .“Three Poems.” 3AM Magazine.

Weil, Simone. Gravity and Grace. London and New York: Routledge, 2003.



[1] Alexandru Cosmescu (PhD in Philology, Institute of Philology of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova) is a poet, philosopher and linguist based in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. Academically, he works in the fields of phenomenology and discourse analysis. His most recent publication, co-edited with Anastasia Gavrilovici, is an anthology of contemporary Romanian-language poetry – Cine nu e mângâiat nu există: Antologia generației 2000 (Who Is Not Caressed Does Not Exist: An Anthology of the 2000s Generation), Cartier, 2021.

[2] Giorgio Agamben, When the House Burns Down: From the Dialect of Thought (New York: Seagull Books, 2022), 7.

[3] Natalie Depraz, Écrire en phénoménologue: «une autre époque de l’écriture» (Paris: Encre marine, 1999), 92.

[4] Robert Creeley, The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975, Volume 1 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 327

[5] Luke Fischer, The Poet as Phenomenologist: Rilke and the New Poems (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), 62.

[6] Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace (London and New York: Routledge, 2003), 42.

[7] Fernando Pessoa, Alberto Caeiro: Complete Poems,

[8] Fernando Pessoa, Alberto Caeiro: Complete Poems.

[9] Simon Critchley, “Surfaciality: Some Poems by Fernando Pessoa, one by Wallace Stevens, and the Brief Sketch of a Poetic Ontology”, Gramma: Journal of Theory and Criticism, vol. 14 (2006): 123,

[10] Elena Vladareanu, “Three Poems”, 3AM Magazine,

Picture: “The Word Made Flesh” by Paul Yore (2022; photo by Casey Horsfield; source).