April 13, 2005
Where the Heart Is


I finally picked up a copy of Bachelard's The Poetics of Space, 10 years after it was recommended to me, and in those 10 years I never did figure out what to expect, and was a bit surprised to find that it was about the house, home, the idea of home:

"If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.... Now my aim is clear: I must show that the house is one of the greatest powers of integration for the thoughts, memories and dreams of mankind.... It is as though in this material paradise, the human being were bathed in nourishment, as though he were gratified with all the essential benefits."

At the Strand yesterday I found Duane Michals's new book, The House I Once Called a Home, a poetic-photographic (as per usual) meditation on the house he grew up in, which had been abandoned 10 years when he returned, and also his family ("Mother did not love my father. She loved another."). And then also it is a work of rephotography, of going home again, and taking pictures. It is a sad book, a sad house, the walls turning to ruined plaster, the backyard overgrown, the spirit gone. It is proof.

Posted by dbrown at April 13, 2005 11:05 PM
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