Scott Smiley's
Ideas in Place


 Poetics of Place


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 "Place is an organized world of meaning" - Yi Fu Tuan


There is a realm where places and ideas intersect, and as a geographer by training, this is where my interests and expertise lie. This pathway, where the tangible and abstract meet, has taken me in two very different directions, corresponding (more or less) to the left and right sides of the brain.

On the logical side (with a fair amount of artistry thrown in), I am a freelance indexer of books

On the creative, intuitive side, my geographical research is on the poetics of place, with an emphasis on gardens.

For the Right Side of the Brain:

Poetics of Place

The PLACES we inhabit can be better understood and experienced through ideas associated with them. I call this "poetics of place." I analyze places to consider the way they are experienced, drawing from the ideas of many traditions, including Western and Eastern philosophy, psychology, perception and color theory, and feng shui.


For the Left Side of the Brain:


On the other hand, IDEAS have places of their own: they dwell in books. To read a book is to enter into the realm of ideas, and we need to be able to locate those concepts within the realm of the book. One powerful tool for navigating the books that house ideas is the back-of-the-book index. As a freelance indexer, I create indexes that guide the reader, incorporating both the science and the art of indexing (so the right brain gets in there too).

I am a freelance indexer, a geographer, and a researcher in the poetics of place. This site contains material on indexes and indexing, on my doctoral dissertation in geography at LSU ("Musing the Garden: A Poetics of Place and Emplacement"), and on the experiential qualities of place, which I call "poetics of place."

Within the category "poetics of place," I incorporate information and reflection on various ways of understanding how we experience space and place, from the perspectives of Western philosophy, Eastern philosophy, psychology, mythology, and perceptions studies. More specifically, these ways of understanding include feng shui (the Chinese art of placement), existential phenomenology, archetypal psychology and symbolism, the philosophies of the elements, mythology and folklore, perception studies, color theory, intuition, and perception studies.

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