JES S I CA LEW IS LU CK Nikki Skillman, The Lyric in the Age of the Brain. Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 2016. 342 pp. $40.00. n the long poem "Hibernaculum," A. R. Ammons imagines the cognitive origins and effects of poetry as follows: poems deepen his attention till what he is thinking catches the energy of a deep rhythm: then he becomes essentially one: one in thought and motion: then, he means: the recent forward brain is working with the medulla oblongata. . . .1 Nikki Skillman's new book The Lyric in the Age of the Brain begins with the question, What happens to the poem when, in our current "age of the brain," the poet knows so much about the material processes behind consciousness, imagination, memory, and emotion? Traditionally the purview of humanist exploration, such questions have now been appropriated by cognitive science, which roots its answers in the nonintentional matter of the physical body. Poets of the last sixty years are vividly aware of the materialist foundations of the mind, according to Skillman, and this knowledge acts as a significant conceptual backdrop for their poetics. Skillman traces the effects of this awareness
Contemporary Literature – University of Wisconsin Press
Published: Jul 13, 2017
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