PSYCHOPOETRY: A New Approach to Self-Awareness Through Poetry Therapy by Gilbert Schloss

PSYCHOPOETRY: A New Approach to Self-Awareness Through Poetry Therapy

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Actually a puffed-out essay, strewn with concepts like ""ancillary treatment modalities,"" that attempts to obscure the obvious: that certain people, at certain times, may express through poetry what they can't ""straight on."" Four relatively detailed case histories are presented, with examples from the subjects' writings during the various ""treatment"" stages (Beginnings, Transitions, Resistance, Change, Self, Others, the World); the latter half of the book is a collection of poems from patients the author/therapist (at the Institute of Sociotherapy) worked with. It is true that the purpose of psychopoetry is to make better people, not better poems, but on the other hand, not much is served by this predictable collection of ""I am a hollow inside a wintered tree/ forgotten"" and ""Being a person is very difficult"" and ""I cry/ and my eyes burn. . . I am unhappy."" Most alarming is a survey of poems other psychotherapists use to unbottle their patients: conventional 19th-century poets like Tennyson and Arnold, or stale 20th-century ones like Millay and Sandburg, that inform us mainly of those therapists' limited literary education: ""Crossing the Bar"" for Hurt, or ""To His Coy Mistress"" for Joy--hardly.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap