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Issue Details: First known date: 2019... 2019 When 'Someone Is Writing a Poem' : The Role of Metaphor in Transforming the Inhabited Experience of Life-threatening Illness
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'But most often someone writing a poem believes in, depends on, a delicate, vibrating range of difference, that an ‘I’ can become a ‘we’ without extinguishing others, that a partly common language exists to which strangers can bring their own heartbeat, memories, images. A language that itself has learned from the heartbeat, memories, images of strangers. (Rich 2003: 86)

'The New leaves writing project was designed to provide people experiencing life-threatening illnesses the poetic tools to help gain self-confidence, literary skills and some kind of aesthetic satisfaction by creating their own poems. Because poetry often utilises the language of the subconscious, it has a unique capacity to help people uncover and listen to the deeper meanings of their lives (Harrower 1972; Mazza 1999). Poetry enables people to feel their lives, rather than to withdraw, or retreat into emotional numbness or states of paralysis in times of crisis. Participants in our project found writing poetry helped build an interior space and – when undertaken in a group led by Judith Beveridge, who is an experienced practitioner – connect their work to a wider community. This article focuses on the ways in which the creation of metaphors and symbolic images enabled New leaves poets to represent the knowledge and experience of illness while moving dialogically from an isolated ‘I’ to a connected ‘We’ by participating in the workshop and publication process.' (Publication abstract)



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  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Axon : Creative Explorations Inhabiting Language vol. 9 no. 1 May 2019 16849694 2019 periodical issue

    'When discussing metaphors of inhabitation and dwelling and their relationship to language, Heidegger’s enigmatic claim in his ‘Letter on Humanism’ (1946), comes to mind: 

    'Language is the house of being. In its home human beings dwell. Those who think and those who create with words are the guardians of this home. (239)

    'This statement highlights an important connection between language and being, but also asks questions about the accommodation of utterance and its properties. For Heidegger, the way we occupy language assists us in belonging. Furthermore, in his reflections on thinking, Heidegger argues that poetic language is crucial to ways of being in its ability to illuminate thinking and offer wisdom:

    'I shall mention poetry now only in passing. It is confronted by the same question, and in the same manner, as thinking. But Aristotle's words in the Poetics, although they have scarcely been pondered, are still valid – that poetizing is truer than the exploration of beings. (275)' (Editorial introduction)

Last amended 24 Jun 2019 12:27:47 When 'Someone Is Writing a Poem' : The Role of Metaphor in Transforming the Inhabited Experience of Life-threatening Illnesssmall AustLit logo Axon : Creative Explorations