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Sunday, 4 March 2018

Poetry and Emotion, The Lancet, Belinda Jack


Poetry and emotionfrom The Lancet - Vol. 391, No. 10122, pp. 732–733, 24 February 2018

"Neuroimaging cannot tell us everything about our emotional response to poetry. A fundamental distinction needs to be made between the identification of emotional responses as shown by neuroimaging, and what goes on with poetry, which is both a process initiated by the poet, and a reciprocal process undertaken by the reader. Poetry stimulates feelings (passions), and intellectual ideas and self-recognition, for example, which are cognitive events. Poetry does not happen to the reader, as Plato implies. It is an interactive process....Poetry is not a panacea. It can't cure us of distressing feelings. But it can help us to make sense of powerful emotions of which we may scarcely be aware. As Eliot wrote, “Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.” Belinda Jack

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