Poetic Medicine: Writing and the Body
“Shaping the Fractured Self takes trauma and experience head on, showing how poetry expands our sense of community and beauty.” Andy Jackson.
What power does the act of writing have for those facing chronic illness and disability? Does suffering inhibit or inspire a creative response? Is poetry therapy, exploration, liberation or protest? Three brilliant and original writers from Shaping the Fractured Self: Poetry of Chronic Illness and Pain in conversation – Leah Kaminsky, Andy Jackson and Rachael Guy.
THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA PUBLISHING
Of course, not all great art has its genesis in pain and not all pain – not even a fraction – leads to the partial consolations of art. But if lancing an abscess is the surest way to healing, can poetry offer the same cleansing of emotional wounds?
Shaping the Fractured Self takes trauma and experience head on, showing how poetry expands our sense of community and beauty.
Shaping the Fractured Self showcases twenty-eight of Australia’s finest poets who happen to live with chronic illness and pain. The autobiographical short essays, in conjunction with the three poems from each of the poets, capture the body in trauma in its many and varied moods. Because those who live with chronic illness and pain experience shifts in their relationship to it on a yearly, monthly or daily basis, so do the words they use to describe it.
Shaping the Fractured Self gives voice to sufferers, carers, medical practitioners and researchers, building understanding in a community of caring.
“Suffering from chronic illness or pain means being split into ‘before’ and ‘after’, as well as into ‘healthy’ and ‘sick’. When illness or pain returns after a reprieve, sufferers wonder how long the particular bout will last, as if once the major symptoms have invaded the body and had their fun, the sufferer will return to a place of normalcy. But people who have chronic illness and pain live in what sociologist Arthur W Frank termed as the Remission Society, so the disabling condition never fully passes. It leaves traces of itself in bodies, in memories, and it forges ahead through lingering fear. Writing about chronic illness and pain can bring these selves together – the ‘before’ and ‘after’, the ‘sick’ and the ‘healthy’ – so that sufferers can see themselves as whole.” Heather Taylor Johnson – Editor
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