Plurality and the Poetics of Self

  • Published: 2019
  • Press: Palgrave

Plurality and the Poetics of Self investigates the words “I” and “self” as suggestive of eight territories of meaning. Via poetry’s lens into language and its limits, Bruce Bond explores the notion of self as identity, volitional agent, ego, existential monad, subjectivity, ontological origin, soul, and transpersonal psyche. Taking poetic meaning as our common currency, the book emphasizes the critical role of the un-representable and how embattled and confused assumptions that conflate disparate meanings threaten ever deeper alienation from one another and ourselves.


“Bruce Bond’s Plurality and the Poetics of Self works to mend the disjointed harmony of contemporary poetics’ relation to self, a relation that errs in assuming that experience authorizes self-expression past scrutiny and that the self is but a construction.  But the harmony of self is a complicated music, one Bond teaches us to hear in all its contraries. Delving into poetry across spans of time, into philosophy, theology, psychology, metaphysics, and myth, Bond demonstrates not only generous learning, but gives us a rarer gift, that generosity inside learning that hopes to return us to ourselves.  The gift here is to allow us our own complexity, and to suggest a poem’s difficulty might make us each more capable of understanding and expressing our own, that Gordian knot we tangle more each day, lost as we are in our single syllable whenever we, as daily we all do, say ‘I.’”  

—Dan Beachy-Quick