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Title: I am still bed six :a collection of poetry, and, Poetry as therapy and poetry beyond therapy
Authors: Reid, Lindsay Emma
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This collection of lyrical poetry is significantly inspired by personal experiences, particularly a diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune condition. Issues such as hospitalisation, the power dynamics between doctors and patients, and managing both physical and emotional pain inform the writing. Highly specified form in the poetry serves to contain and organise powerful emotions using simple, epigrammatic language. The layout of the research mirrors the layout of the poetry. The researcher’s own experiences of finding therapeutic value in her own poetry writing led to the research element which explores how and why poetry writing works therapeutically and whether poetry is more effective than other forms of therapeutic writing. The specific benefits of poetry writing as therapy for those who have experienced emotional distress are explored in depth. The difference between poetry as therapy and poetry as art is also considered. A small scale research study was undertaken with service users at a local charity, who have experienced emotional distress. A qualitative, semi-structured interview design was used, which was then analysed using Interpretational Phenomenological Analysis. The findings suggest that poetry is a particularly useful form of therapeutic writing as poetry promotes successful processing of a traumatic event through the use of image and metaphor. The participants retained the distinction between their priority of expressing themselves honestly and a preoccupation with artistic endeavour. Stevie Smith and Julia Darling provide examples of poets who found therapeutic elements in the writing process. Some of their poems are analysed in depth and their views on poetry’s therapeutic effects are considered. Alongside this, the difference between poetry as therapy and poetry as art is explored. Research reveals that poetry as therapy prioritises self-expression and poetry as art prioritises artfulness, but the two are not completely distinct; rather, they lie on a spectrum.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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