Couched in Verse

In Molly Peacock’s latest collection, poetic form, like psychoanalysis, offers safe passage through perilous waters

A little girl, escaping monsters, washes up on unfamiliar shores where an analyst takes her in. Over 40 years the analyst cares for her, as the little girl turns into a poet, a grown woman, a grey queen. She marries a knight and moves to a faraway land. Then the analyst has a stroke, an AVM (that stands for arteriovenous malformation). She becomes a little girl, escaping monsters, and washes up on unfamiliar shores—where the poet takes her in.

Such is the backstory, or one of them, of Molly Peacock’s new collection of poems, The Analyst (full disclosure: Biblioasis has published my work, as well). The story is autobiographical, yet strikingly archetypal in its shape, even if some of its key figures—the analyst, that monster known as an AVM—are not part of the classical repertoire.

If your poems are mythopoeic but the myth—the story with which they are engaged—is not (or not yet...