The Turn and the Talking Cure

28 09 2014


Poet and clinical psychologist Lisa C. Krueger has recently published an article on the relations between poetry and therapy.  The article, “Ars Poetica and the Talking Cure: Poetry, Therapy, & the Quest to Create,” appears in the latest issue of The Writer’s Chronicle (47.2 (Oct/Nov, 2014): 86-93).  While the whole article is fascinating, one part in particular caught my attention: the focus on the turn in poetry and therapy.  Krueger writes:

Within the structure of these endeavors [poetry and therapy] there are similar movements of progression, a turning and returning to points of departure.  A poem may require repetition, a restoration of words; therapy may require a return to the past, repeating and rewriting words that have been spoken, weaving history into new language.  Like a sonnet, therapy aims toward a turning point, a volta-like moment of awareness, new understanding of material “in the room.” (87-88)

Krueger then discusses how W.S. Merwin’s poem “My Hand” “mirrors the therapeutic movement” (87).  I love this connection.  I’ve written on Merwin and the turn–for example, here.  And, in fact, in my contribution to Until Everything Is Continuous Again: American Poets on the Recent Work of W.S. Merwin, I point to “My Hand” as being one of the many poems in The Shadow of Sirius that has a great turn in it.

Those interested in the turn should check out Merwin, and Krueger’s article, and Krueger’s poetry–including “There Is No Echo” and “Ready for Happiness”–which is full of great turns.



4 responses

1 05 2015

wow. and yes. who needs therapy anymore? we be poets!

1 05 2015
Mike Theune


12 05 2015

Reblogged this on Uvcw's Blog.

14 05 2015
Mike Theune

Awesome! Thank you!

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