Journal of Poetry Therapy

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 145–154 | Cite as

Agony, A Womb of Poetry. Why?

  • J. Bardarah McCandless


The creative processes of formulating poetic imagery during therapy may control, integrate, and communicate emotional distress. Poetic writing may exert control by containing pain, naming it, balancing its destructive potential, giving aesthetic expression to it, providing distance from it, and recording it. The effort to construct imagery may also foster integration of previously unknown feelings by first revealing and interpreting them, and then weaving new interpretations of the past into present self-understandings. Through poetic imagery one may also communicate with others in order to gain emotional support or, more importantly, to share insights which may soothe other persons’ pain.


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  1. McCandless, J.B. (1988). Excerpts from an unpublished journal. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Bardarah McCandless
    • 1
  1. 1.Westminster CollegeNew WilmingtonUSA

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