Poem as Psychodrama

Artwork: "Diary of Discoveries", Vladimir Kush (source)
A poem becomes psychodrama when it allows the listener or reader (and writer as first reader), to hold and transform difficult, uncertain or rejected emotions and experiences through the sounds, words and metaphor (and sometimes story) of poetry. The poem aspires to be the worthy vessel of this transformation.

In poetic form, psychodrama can and will take many forms but here today it is primarily written in first-person (i.e. "I"). This first "I" of the poem instantly creates the narrator of the poem as an entity separate from the reader in the poem. The narrator then becomes the source of all the difficult, uncertain or rejected qualities and experiences, giving the reader a psychological distance for more safely experiencing them as coming from another. The narrator may then later address the reader directly in the poem as "you". This first "you" then pulls the reader themselves into the poem as an entity. While the reader is emotionally distanced from being the narrator, they are still viscerally engaged emotionally as an entity in the poem, "you".  The reader then is not spared from participation in the psychodrama as would occur if the disembodied third-person (e.g. "he" or "she") were used instead.

A poetic psychodrama also secretly invites the reader to view the rejected "I" as a costume. A costume to be tried on. It invites the reader to imagine the costume of "I" worn by others and, eventually, worn by the reader themselves. Perhaps the costume fits us all?

It is in this restoration of the openness to play with the difficult, uncertain and rejected, that emotional flow is restored and emotions transform. And it is in this transformation that a poetic psychodrama becomes "the worthy vessel of this expression".

(What is psychodrama?)


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