“What one cannot compute, one must poetize,” concludes a new interdisciplinary study of poetry, “Poetry and Mind: Tractatus Poetico-Philosophicus,” by Laurent Dubreuil, professor of comparative literature and Romance studies, and a member of the cognitive science program.
While not a direct sequel to Dubreuil’s previous book, “The Intellective Space,” his new work shows how we are able to bypass cognition, especially through poetry, to reach the “intellective” (mental) space where we can think beyond our usual limits. “Through and with poetry, we are using the normal regimes of thought and bypassing them at the same time. Showing that is the overarching goal of the book,” Dubreuil said.
“Poetry and Mind” demonstrates how poetry – a widespread and perhaps universal phenomenon among humans – arises through syntactic structures, cognitive binding and mental regulations, but that, in going through them, it also exceeds them, according to Dubreuil. “What happens to us with poems challenges what we believe we know about cognition. It eloquently shows there are more than rules and operations in thinking but also that such excess can only derive – and derail – from routines, patterns and automation,” Dubreuil writes.