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The Poetics of Space

Gaston Bachelard

Throughout Michael Pollan’s A Place of my Own, his book on building a writing shack & the architecture of dreams, he kept referencing this mysterious sounding book, The Poetics of Space.

Bachelard’s book is an act of creative philosophy, a deeply original approach, and a shining example of what I think of as the literature of illumination - writing that concerns itself with direct experience of life’s vitalizing, subsurface currents.

On the surface, he just walks around a house, looks at furniture and spaces, and uses them as entryways into spaces of the psyche. Metaphors like ‘the basement of the mind’ are common enough, but he goes through everything. Chests of drawers. Staircases. Floors.

It’s the kind of book that, if we allow ourselves to read it deeply, we fall into an altered state of consciousness, another inhabited mental space where we might learn, or experience, something new.