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Title: Numinous connections : poetry in the hospice
Author: Isherwood, Philip
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 1111
Awarding Body: University of Bolton
Current Institution: University of Bolton
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis offers a distinctive approach to writing poetry which has been developed within the context of the author’s/researcher’s observations of, and participation in, end of life care. It will be argued that poetry can have a unique role in supporting patients within a hospice setting. It emerges that there may be a further role of the poem as ‘memorial art’. The practical base to the research has been writing poetry based on conversations with, and the creative artwork of, hospice patients throughout a period of over three years. These working methods have enabled the author to produce a substantial collection of poetry, presented at the start of the thesis, as the prime evidence of the value of the approach. In this research context the ‘numinous’ is interpreted from its extended definition as relating to transcendence, wonder and otherness. Particular components of the writing practice have formed a ‘numinous poetics’. The numinous as a focus in this research has emerged through careful and scholarly reading and reflection as part of the author’s response to the perceived qualities and value of the poems as they were written. Seeking for the ‘numinous’ was not a prelude or prescription for the research but a consequence of it. It encompasses cognitive, linguistic and literary components, and further draws from the often numinous experience of a poem’s inception whilst talking with an individual patient. The numinous is argued to be of particular value to inform the creative representation of a patient’s life at a time when a more simplistic presentation of meaning and understanding may prove inadequate. The research details the poetics of the various components, and documents the writing experience to demonstrate the potential to other writers choosing to work in hospice settings. Following the Creative Work of 93 poems beginning the thesis, Chapters 1 and 2 introduce the numinous approach and outline components of numinous poetics. Chapter 3 details the development of particular techniques and skills by specific examples, and then Chapter 4 fully explains the practice and key learning points gained as a hospice poet. Chapters 5 and 6 deal with further key issues regarding the role of the poet and the case for this approach to be integrated within the end of life care aims regarding a ‘good death’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available