"In this book, Cole Swensen challenges the tension between land and landscape and the relative relationship of each to ‘reality'—and her instinct is infallible. She's a guide, a mentor, a blessing, an event. She explores the thinking behind the works of numerous artists who elevate contemporary culture to our highest expectations."—Etel Adnan
"I can't think of another writer who writes as precisely and insightfully as Cole Swensen about humans contemplating a landscape, and the perceptions and associations implied by the use of such terms as 'vastness' and 'timeless.' In the 20 poem-essays (or are they encyclopedia entries?) that make up Art in Time, Swensen writes about a wide range of singular figures: Robert Smithson, Agnes Varda, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Rosa Bonheur, Chaïm Soutine, Joan Jonas, Irving Petlin, and Renee Gladman. Brimming with fresh and precise readings, full of little known details and revelations, Art in Time is that rare book. You will want to bring it with you when walking in the woods, visiting a National Park, driving in the desert, or going to a museum. In these pages, you will discover insights into artists that you thought you knew and ones that you have never heard of before. You will begin thinking about landscapes differently."—John Yau
"Highly esteemed, always challenging, sometimes austere, Swensen has a career marked by projects, book-length poems spurred by clear formal goals."–Publishers Weekly
"Her poetry is like Dickinson without the syncopation...numinous, in fact."–John Ashbery, The Times Literary Supplement
"Swensen’s poetry documents a penetrating 'intellectus'—light of the mind—by turns fragile, incandescent, transcendent."–Anne Waldman
Historically, much landscape art has reinforced binaries such as inside/outside, subject/object, and culture/nature, thus reducing a complex network to an ornament that reinforces a sense of human power over nature, imposes specific cultural values, and/or claims or exercises control. And yet there are also artists who have developed alternatives to conventional depictions of the world around them, using landscape to participate in the earth, active in its view and its viewing. The art addressed in the book presents landscape as engagement rather than as detached observation, encouraging an increased sense of belonging to, and thus responsibility for, the earth.