Poetry and Psychoanalysis : The Opening of the Field book cover
1st Edition

Poetry and Psychoanalysis
The Opening of the Field

ISBN 9780415699013
Published June 3, 2020 by Routledge
194 Pages

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Book Description

Poetry and Psychoanalysis: The Opening of the Field provides a guide to applying a poet’s imagination and precision of language to the healing endeavours of psychoanalysis while making a lucid journey through 2,000 years of transformative poetry from Virgil, Dante and Blake to the contemporary poet Claudia Rankine.

Patients enter treatment with the hope of being recognized and the hope for transformation of a painful experience. David Shaddock shows how poetry can guide psychoanalysts towards meeting that hope. The book is based on the proposition that an accurate recognition of what is leads to the opening of what could be. The imaginative space that opens between poem and reader or therapist and patient can be a place of healing and transformation.

Poetry and Psychoanalysis will appeal to psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists interested in using literature and creativity as inspiration for both their clinical work and personal growth, as well as all who love poetry.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Preface Part I 01. The Poetics of Psychoanalytic Treatment 02. To Build a New World: Creative and Aesthetic Choices in Psychoanalysis 03. Near the Source of Love Was This: Poems of the Nursery 04. Standing against Silence: Czeslaw Milosz, Denise Levertov and the Poetry of Witness 05. Knowing the Unknowable: The "Difficult" Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Paul Celan Part II 06. Meeting the Father in the Underworld: Virgil’s Aeneid, Book VI 07. "I Was Sent Here to Save Him:" Dante’s Purgatorio as Therapeutic Journey 08. Mind Forg’d Manacles: William Blake and the Emancipation of Consciousness 09. A Universe Between My Hat and My Boots: Whitman’s Self as a Model for empathic connection 010. Wallace Stevens: The World Imagined 011. William Carlos Williams: How to Look, How to Listen 012. Deconstructing Racism: Claudia Rankine’s Citizen References Index

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David Shaddock, Ph.D., is an award-winning poet and psychotherapist. He is author of four books of poetry and two on couples therapy. His play In a Company of Seekers was performed at the 2012 Spoleto Arts Festival in Italy. He co-leads the couples therapy interest group for the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology.


"Poetry and Psychoanalysis: The Opening of the Field does, in fact, open our field. It opens our capacity to use our imagination in our work, indeed our lives, as psychotherapists. Poetry is the key to that opening. In Shaddock’s hand the poetry is not 'applied' to therapy, rather it inspires."

- Malcolm Owen Slavin, Ph.D., author of forthcoming Original Loss: Grieving Existential Trauma in Art and the Art of Psychoanalysis

"I wouldn’t have imagined I could read a book that would teach me something new both about psychoanalysis (especially about how the analyst listens) and about poets I have lived with for decades, Dante, Blake. Everyone interested in either poetry or psychoanalysis should read this book."

- Alan Williamson, Warren Wilson College, author of Franciscan Notes and Almost a Girl: Male Writers and Female Identification

"In Poetry and Psychoanalysis: The Opening of the Field, David Shaddock reveals the unexpected kinship between clinical psychoanalysis and the art of poetry. In both, a speaker (poet or patient) speaks intimately to an other (therapist or reader) the deepest experiences of the heart. In both, meaning is carried in sounds, rhythms, memories and dreams. In both, expression is the medium of transformation. In this marvelous book, Shaddock, poet and psychoanalyst, reveals how such transformation comes to be."

- Jeffrey Stern, Ph.D., literary critic, Training and Supervising Analyst, Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute

"As a guide to the possible relationship between poetry and psychoanalysis David Shaddock’s book certainly stimulates further reading and reflection.
In the end, it is the method created by David Shaddock in Poetry and Psychoanalysis that is most valuable. The three-way relationship he sets up between the poems he chooses to read, the theoretical basis of his psychotherapy practice, and the accounts from his clinical work is what can be taken forward by diverse readers."

- Dr. Dominic McLoughlin, Psychodynamic Practice