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...

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



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