Journal of Poetry Therapy

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 67–76 | Cite as

Poetry Therapy in a Women’s Growth Group on the Mother-Daughter Relationship

  • Gen Giebel Chavis


This article sets forth the goals and format of a 12-week women’s growth group that explored the issues and features common to the mother-daughter connection during the various stages of the life-cycle. The author focuses on the ways in which she incorporated poetry reading and writing activities into the group experience and describes several vignettes that illustrate how poetry functions as an effective medium for tapping memories, fostering spontaneity, evoking feelings, stimulating insights, and helping group members generate alternative attitudes and behavior in relation to their mothers and/or daughters.


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Bibliography of Poems Selected for the Group

  1. Bass, Ellen (1978). “First Menstruation.” In L. Lifshin (Ed.), Tangled Vines: A Collection of Mother & Daughter Poems. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bass, Ellen (1978). “For My Mother.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  3. Goedicke, Patricia. “Circus Song.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  4. Halpern, Joan (1982). “The Thief.” Pudding Magazine, 7.Google Scholar
  5. Hoffman, Jill. “Her Sleep.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  6. Jong, Erica (1968). “Dear Marys, Dear Mother, Dear Daughter.” Love Root. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  7. Jong, Erica. “Mother.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  8. Jong, Erica (1979). “Woman Enough.” At the Edge of the Body. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  9. Kumin, Maxine. “The Envelope.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  10. Kumin, Maxine. “Making the Jam without You.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  11. Langdon-Adkins, Robin (1977). “My Mother Was an Escape Artist.” Contemporary Women Poets: An Anthology. Eds. Jennifer McDowell & M. Loventhal. San Jose, CA: Merlin.Google Scholar
  12. Lifshin, Lyn (1978). “My Mother and I Were.” Offered by Owner. New York: Natalie Slohm.Google Scholar
  13. Lorde, Audre. “What My Child Learns of the Sea.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  14. McGinley, Phyllis (1960). “Adversary.” Times Three: Selected Verse From Three Decades. New York: Viking Press.Google Scholar
  15. Olds, Sharon (1984). “35/10” The Dead And The Living. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  16. Oles, Carol (1979). “Cycling.” The Loneliness Factor. Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech University.Google Scholar
  17. Oles, Carol. “The Explanation.” The Loneliness Factor.Google Scholar
  18. Oles, Carol. “Mother and Child.” The Loneliness Factor.Google Scholar
  19. Paisner, Lucille (1983). “On Looking At My Old Photograph.” Pudding Magazine, 8.Google Scholar
  20. Pastan, Linda (1981). “Hippolyte at Breakfast.” Waiting For My Life. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  21. Pastan, Linda. “Rachel.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  22. Pastan, Linda (1978). “The Right Set of Fears.” Five Stages of Grief. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  23. Piercy, Marge. “My Mother’s Novel.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  24. Rich, Adrienne. “A Woman Mourned by Daughters.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  25. Sexton, Anne (1966). “Little Girl, My String Bean, My Lovely Woman.” Live or Die. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  26. Todd, Gail. “To My Four-Year-Old Daughter.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  27. Ullman, Liv. “from Changing.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  28. Yoak, Martha (1976). “Mother and I.” New Poets/Women/An Anthology. Ed. Terry Wetherby. Millbrae, CA: Les Femmes.Google Scholar
  29. Wellington, Gladys. “I Wanted to be a Cauliflower.” Contemporary Women Poets.Google Scholar
  30. Wendt, Ingrid (1980). “Having Given Birth.” Moving the House, Brockport, NY: BOA Editions.Google Scholar
  31. Wittlinger, Ellen. “The Second Heart.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar
  32. Zeiger L.L. “The Fish.” Tangled Vines.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gen Giebel Chavis
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EnglishCollege of Saint CatherineSaint PaulUSA
  2. 2.The Humanist Psychotherapy CenterUSA

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