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Writing and Psychoanalysis

Ian McMillan visits celebrated psychoanalytic writer and therapist Adam Phillips.

The writer and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips is the author of 'On Kindness', and 'On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored' amongst other works of non-fiction. He is also a regular contributor to the London Review of Books. Adam invited The Verb into his west-London consulting room to discuss the rules and significance of Freud's concept of 'free association', the importance of inconclusive conclusions and what he sees as the lopsided relationship between poetry and psychoanalysis - something he explores in his new book 'In Writing: Essays on Literature' (Hamish Hamilton).

AL Kennedy is a writer and stand-up comedian - for The Verb she explores the importance of 'no' in conversation and in writing, the illusion of spontaneity in comedy and the reasons why Meg, one of the characters in her latest novel 'Serious Sweet' (Vintage), is sceptical of 'talking cures'. AL Kennedy won the Costa Book of the Year award in 2007 for 'Day'.

Rachel Parris and Amy Cooke-Hodgson are part of 'Austentatious', the cult Edinburgh fringe performance group. Austentatious improvise plays in the style of Jane Austen using only audience suggestions. You can hear more from Austentatious in their own BBC Radio 4 show http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08tvyw0

The poet Kathryn Maris is the author of the collections 'God Loves You' (Seren) and 'The Book of Jobs' (Four Way Books). Kathryn explores the influence of psychoanalysis on the work of American poets, and argues that younger poets in Britain are also finding it a rich source of inspiration. Kathryn's work will be appearing alongside Sam Riviere and Frederick Seidel in 'Penguin Modern Poets 5: Occasional Wild Parties'.

Producer: Faith Lawrence

Photo credit: Toby Glanville.

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44 minutes

Adam Phillips

Adam Phillips

Adam Phillips discusses the relationship between poetry and psychoanalysis, explains the rules of free association and says that he hopes that the his tendency to use questions as conclusions in his essays, will leave them more open for the reader. 

Rachel Parris and Amy Cooke-Hodgson

Rachel Parris and Amy Cooke-Hodgson

Listening, remaining in the moment and ‘yes, and…’  Rachel Parris and Amy Hodgson equip us with some of the essential tools for a successful improvisation, explain the meaning of the terms ‘shiv’ and pimp’, and why a suit is the enemy of free association… In this programme, Rachel and Amy  allow the atmosphere of Adam Phillips’ consultation room to influence the style of their improvisations, and create characters that should never be allowed to run a zoo, and two women who have very different ideas about the future.

Austentatious

Kathryn Maris

Kathryn Maris

Kathryn Maris examines the place of psychoanalysis in the work of contemporary poets like Emily Berry, and reads from her own work influenced by analysis, ‘The House with Only an Attic and a Basement’.

AL Kennedy

AL Kennedy

As a performer, A.L. Kennedy finds that spontaneity is greatly helped by the fact that audiences are often in fact the same. As a writer, she is drawn to cynicism, and reads from her novel ‘Serious Sweet’, where we meet a cynic in group therapy.

A.L. Kennedy

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