Volume 26, 2008
Philosophy and Literature
Walking out into the Order of Things
Movement, Stillness and Landscape Perception in the Poetry of Thomas A. Clark
This paper explores the perceptual space of Thomas A. Clark’s poetry and its links with the long and influential Western literary and artistic traditions of walking in the landscape, from Romanticism to Land Art. Particular attention will be given to the relations that Clark establishes in his writing between walking as a bodily practice and the multi-sensory engagement with the landscape it provides. It will be shown that Clark’s most significant contribution to the literature of walking lies in the balance he creates between movement and stillness. In this dynamics, walking is envisaged as means of contemplation and communion to be found within the body, but which is at the same time directed towards the world, and the landscape appears as an infinite variety of perspectival views and as a dynamic process of discovery.