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Slow Fuse of the Possible: A Memoir of Poetry and Psychoanalysis
Kate Daniels
West Virginia University Press / Softcover / Jan 2022
9781952271380 (ISBN-10: 195227138X)
Psychoanalysis / Biography and Memoir
price: $26.95
216 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

Slow Fuse of the Possible is a poet’s narrative of a troubled psychoanalysis. It is also a commanding meditation on the powers of language, for good and for ill.

From the beginning of their time together, it is clear that the enigmatic analyst and Daniels are not a good match, yet both are determined to continue their work—the former in nearly complete silence, and the latter as best she can with the tools at her disposal: careful attention to language, deep reading, and literary imagination. Throughout, the story is filtered through the mind of Emily Dickinson, whose poetry Daniels uses as a fulcrum for the interpretation of her own experience. The book is saturated with Dickinson’s verse, and Dickinson is an increasingly haunting presence as crises emerge and the author unravels.

This compelling lyric memoir, so richly steeped in all facets of language and the literary, allows readers a glimpse into the mind of a renowned poet, revealing the dazzling and anguished connections between poetry and psychoanalysis.


“Daniels is a keen observer of visceral moments and powerful emotions.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Kate Daniels has transformed a painfully failed analysis into an unlikely, original, and successful book, a compellingly personal and brave study of poetry and psychoanalysis, her interrelated passions, which she treats with a mixture of wry poignance and deep devotion. Slow Fuse is a book of burning soulfulness.”
Edward Hirsch, author of 100 Poems to Break Your Heart

“A searching, scorching account of psyche, psychoanalysis, and life. Through Kate Daniels we appreciate the gift of poetic creation in the midst of destructive moments.”
Michael Eigen, author of The Challenge of Being Human, The Sensitive Self, and Contact with the Depths

About the Author:

Kate Daniels is the author of six poetry collections, including In the Months of My Son’s Recovery. A former Guggenheim Fellow, she is the Edwin Mims Professor of English at Vanderbilt University

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other lists
Biography and Memoir
February 2022 New Arrivals
Interesting Reading List for Feb 15/22
John's list of Psychoanalysis in 2021