Poetry as affective communication

Psychoanal Q. 1977;46(3):499-513.


The poetic experience is approached as an act of affective communication. Through analysis of a part of The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot, factors that contribute to the empathic communication between poet and reader are examined. It is suggested that the capacity for flexible language behavior of the participants in the poetic experience makes possible this empathic communication. The relationship between language and expression of affect is emphasized. Implications for affect theory are presented.

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Poetry as Topic*
  • Psychoanalytic Interpretation*