Acquainted with the Night: Psychoanalysis and the Poetic Imagination

Editor : Hamish Canham, Editor : Carole Satyamurti

Part of The Tavistock Clinic series - more in this series

Acquainted with the Night: Psychoanalysis and the Poetic Imagination

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : 2003
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 240
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 17695
  • ISBN 13 : 9781855759633
  • ISBN 10 : 1855759632
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This book explores some of the ways in which an understanding of poetry, and the poetic impulse, can be fruitfully informed by psychoanalytic ideas. It could be argued that there is a particular affinity between poetry and psychoanalysis, in that both pay close attention to the precise meanings of linguistic expression, and both, though in different ways, are centrally concerned with unconscious processes. The contributors to this volume, nearly all of them clinicians with a strong interest in literature, explore this connection in a variety of ways, focusing on the work of particular poets, from the prophet Ezekiel to Seamus Heaney.

Part of the Tavistock Clinic Series.

Reviews and Endorsements

'Poets and Psychoanalysts alike have only one true medium in which to pursue their discipline - Language. In whichever way they conjure truth from their endeavours, they are forced to acknowledge how beautiful, independent and shape-changing words are.

'This book brings together Poets who are Analysts and Analysts who use Poetry in their researches. Perhaps being colleagues does not necessarily make them allies, but in these pages you will gain insight into what passionately convinced lovers of Poetry and Analysis have made of bringing the two arts together.'
- Peter Porter

'The essays comprising this volume, for the most part, succeed precisely where most efforts to write psychoanalysis and the arts disappoint. The sorts of links made by the contributors to this collection between psychoanalysis and poetry consistently resist the common reductionisms in which either a poem is "decoded" or "translated" into psychoanalytic terms, or a poet is psychoanalysed using the poem as his dream.

'Instead, these essays, each in its own dialect, view reading and writing poetry as human endeavours that are distinctly different from those involved in the psychoanalytic enterprise. And yet one after the other, the authors - both poets and psychoanalysts - demonstrate a sense of awe and humility in the face of the way language works - what we (with much practice) may come to be able to do with language and what language can do with us.'
- Thomas H. Ogden, M.D.

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