REVIEW by Vicky MacKenzie

NWR Issue 107

Quantum Poetics (Newcastle/Bloodaxe Poetry Lectures: 15)

by Gwyneth Lewis

The latest contribution to the Newcastle/Bloodaxe Poetry Lecture Series comes from distinguished poet and inaugural Welsh laureate Gwyneth Lewis. An erudite and eclectic book, Quantum Poetics consists of three lectures on distinct aspects of writing poetry, loosely connected by ideas from quantum physics. Lewis claims that particle physics offers several ways of understanding poetry, not through analogies but because ‘Poetry is a form of science,’ an idea explored in her final lecture.

The first lecture, titled ‘The Stronger Life’, has something in common with her highly praised non-fiction book Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression (2003). In her lecture, Lewis reflects on the mental terrain that poets traverse during the process of composition, and seeks to nuance the commonplace belief that writing poetry can be therapeutic. Whilst acknowledging that poetry can be beneficial (she observes of herself that ‘depression always happens to me when I’m writing too little or writing too much of the wrong thing’), Lewis stresses the challenges that come with creativity...

Want to read the full article? Go to our online shop where you can buy an individual issue or take out a subscription to NWR, saving £3.98 on the cover price. Prices start at £16.99 for three issues via Direct Debit, including p+p (UK only).

Buy this book at


previous review: Playing House
next review: Advantages of the Older Man


A brief note on copyright:all authors have given permission for their work to appear online on New Welsh Review's website. Copyright remains with the author. If you wish to reproduce part or all of any article then the permission of the author must be sought, and the author and New Welsh Review credited accordingly.

Contact us:Registered Office PO Box 170, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 1WZ - Telephone 00 (44) 1970 628410
© New Welsh Review Ltd, all rights reserved - Registered in England and Wales - Registered number: 02493828
Website design: mach2media and mopublications      Website development: Technoleg Taliesin Cyf.