The Analyst

Molly Peacock. Norton, $25.95 (106p) ISBN 978-0-393-25471-6
In her seventh poetry collection, multigenre writer Peacock (The Second Blush) explores, through frank and tender portraits, the post-stroke life of her longtime psychoanalyst. She uses verbal collage to capture childhood memory and textures the poems with the realities faced by a brilliant, yet newly impaired mind. Peacock describes the pauses while she waits for her analyst to recall simple words: “the burnt edge of the memory gorge/ you have to make a path around/ starts to crumble—don’t fall in!” Weaved among these quiet accounts of conversations, visits, and the occasional outing together are the ups and downs of the “One thousand two-hundred and ninety-four hours” that Peacock spent in sessions over the course of her life. Working through trauma, despair, and failed relationships on her analyst’s couch, Peacock reflects on these moments in third person: “Thank you for waving goodbye as that young woman/ set off to cohabit with a man who wore a bathrobe/ till 5 in the afternoon and smelled of Balkan Sobranies.” Yet what exactly is the relationship between analyst and patient? “But you paid her, didn’t you?/ How that question endures,” Peacock confesses. Whether justifying existence, addressing memory, or pondering a lack thereof, Peacock notes that “it isn’t what happened that lasts./ Not art, either, but the savory core. What’s felt.” (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/19/2016
Release date: 01/03/2017
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-0-393-35582-6
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