Satia's Reviews > Poetry Therapy: Theory and Practice

Poetry Therapy by Nicholas Mazza
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's review
Mar 21, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: library-book
Recommended for: pyschologists, psychiatrists, counselors
Read in April, 2009

This is a very clinical book, written for professionals more than layment. For a more thorough review:

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Ilze (new)

Ilze ... have you read much of Anne Sexton? She certainly would have had a whole lot to add to this! (if not oppose it outright)

Satia Yes, I have read Sexton. Why do you suggest she would oppose poetry therapy? From what I know of Sexton, I can't imagine why she would but I may be overlooking something obvious.

message 3: by Ilze (new)

Ilze Well, if you think about it her poetry didn't "cure" her. I wish I could find the place where I read this, but somewhere is a quote in which Sexton states that people automatically assumed that she was "better" once she started writing poetry; which she wasn't. Her emotional turmoil was merely finding another outlet and I doubt she was ever out of therapy following the birth of her children.

Satia She did stay in treatment but I think it could be argued that if writing poetry didn't cure her it gave her a means of communicating her turmoil. Given how often women of her era (and especially before) were discouraged from being honest with their creativity, whatever form it took, I would suspect that had anyone dared to tell her not to write she would have balked at the decision. The fact that her first therapist told her to try writing poetry and that she chose not to stop is certainly an argument for how poetry helped her. No, it didn't cure Sexton but then the book, Poetry Therapy, doesn't suggest writing and/or reading poetry will cure anyone. It is merely another means of helping that a therapist can choose to use in treatment. (Interestingly, the author points out that poetry therapy is most effective for people who read a lot and even write already.)

I am going to respectfully disagree with you when you suggest Sexton would oppose poetry therapy. Odds are, she would say something against it but actions speak louder than words and that she chose to keep writing in the face of her increasing desperation strongly implies that she found something beneficial in writing poems.

message 5: by Ilze (new)

Ilze Absolutely! Sexton would not have lived as long as she did, was it not for her poetry! I think it gave her a reason to carry on. Maybe what I'm trying to say is that poetry on its own is not the answer. It needs to be combined with other things, ie. talking cures, medication, etc. I for one would've loved a therapist that was interested in my poetry. Unfortunately, although she looked at it, she wasn't prepared to let it rule the session.

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