The Healing Power of Poetry

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Abstract

Reviews the book, Blue Peninsula: Essential Words for a Life of Loss and Change by Madge McKeithen (see record 2006-06679-000). Although listed as self-help, Blue Peninsula might better be categorized as an intensely personal memoir. Madge McKeithen writes about her struggles to cope with her son's degenerative illness; she fixates on poetry as her salvation. Part of the emotional difficulty that she experiences and tries to adjust to is ambiguity. Her son lacks a specific diagnosis, having only a description of symptoms, and he continues to get worse. Many books have described the healing powers of expressive writing (e.g., Lepore & Smyth, 2002); this book focuses on the healing powers of expressive reading. McKeithen shares poems that have been particularly important to her, including some of her own work, although she mostly discusses the work of others. McKeithen uses poetry to communicate the unspeakable. The underlying message may be that poetry can put into words the feelings of grief and loss. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

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