What Poetic about the Poets’ Walk (Bard College)


Up early for a Talmud and culture conference at Bard College a couple of weeks back on a drippy spring day, I pulled in to park at the nearby Poet’s Walk. It seemed like the right thing to do. The opening strains of Copland’s Billy the Kid were playing on the radio. The walk passes through some nice but otherwise unspectacular rolling meadows surrounded in by wooded areas up to a view over the Hudson River. It’s a nice little walk. But my thoughts were out of focus. Apart from a conceit, what precisely is “poetic” about the Poets’ Walk? It was on my way back from the rustic pavilion that I think I came up with a passable answer. What’s “poetic” is not the nature.  What’s “poetic” is the walk itself, the human design-element marked out by the hard-packed structure of the dirt path, constraining you along forward way, this way and that, pressed in on both sides by what that day were all these little wet cuts of emergent green, brown, and grey. On the way back I stopped to take some digital photos of “art forms in nature.”

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About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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