“You become aware of your not noticing” (47). Jena Osman finds this one result of her project to photograph, of public sculptures in Philadelphia, not images looking at the sculptures but images of what the figures depicted in the sculptures are themselves looking at. But if poetry can have a thesis (and why can it not?), I would identify as Osman’s thesis in Public Figures something like this modified version of that sentence: One would be wise to become aware of her/his not noticing.
Which might be a precondition for the insight suggested by the Dubravka Ugresic book in a recent “Notice.” Perhaps it is possible to challenge our resistance to seeing the there-before-our-very-eyes only if we acknowledge that there might be a there-before-our-very-eyes that we have not noticed.
Osman, Jena. Public Figures. Wesleyan, 2012.