Patrick Barron‘s essay, “Unmasked Representations of Space in Edward Dorn’s ‘The Land Below’ and ‘Idaho Out,’” offers keen close readings of these poems in the larger discussion of the history, geography, and politics of the American West. Although “it can be quite problematic to apply theory to Dorn’s work,” as Barron admits, his application of Henri Lefebvre’s space representation theory provides a new, productive lens through which to understand these poems. Working with issues of space and ownership in the West, Barron deftly maneuvers his way through Dorn’s politically charged poetic landscape.
Please enjoy this short excerpt from Barron’s article:
Dorn’s spatial practice in much of his poetry — the way in which he perceives everyday space – is almost always accomplished through wandering over long distances, often by car. …Dorn’s laconic poetics, however, tends to construct knowledge of the production of space in the West through an insistent unmasking of representations of space. He encourages exploration into and beyond known limits, and embraces increasingly complex fields of geographic awareness.
Patrick Barron’s poetry, essays, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of journals, including Poetry East, Ecopoetics, Two Lines, The Worcester Review, The North Dakota Quarterly, Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, and The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry. His books include Italian Environmental Literature: An Anthology and The Selected Poetry and Prose of Andrea Zanzotto (U of Chicago P), for which he was recently awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (read the press release here). Barron was featured on Adam Penna’s Best Poem blog (read it here). He is currently an assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
The NPF is no stranger to scholarship on Dorn’s work. To see the Table of Contents from Sagetrieb‘s special Dorn issue, click here.