When a psychoanalyst became a painter after surviving a stroke, her longtime patient, distinguished and beloved poet Molly Peacock, took up a unique task. The Analyst (from W.W. Norton and Biblioasis) is a new, visceral, twenty-first century “in memoriam” of ambiguous loss in which Peacock brilliantly tells the story of a decades-long patient-therapist relationship that now reverses and continues to evolve. Peacock invigorates the notion of poetry as word-painting: A tapestry of images, from a red enameled steamer on a black stove to Tibetan monks funneling glowing sand into a painting, create the backdrop for her quest to define identity.
“Whatever the subject, rich music follows the tap of Molly Peacock’s baton.”—Washington Post
“This collection is a welcome green in our clearcut time. Its poems unfurl botanically, precisely as they should, and invite us to consider how essential healing is to our progress. Here are two women in a crucial exchange, taking their turns to listen and to learn. There is an honouring afoot in this work that I’ve learned from, a bowing and a thanks that are given with the grace and humility Molly Peacock’s poetry can make sing. Whether it’s the radical company of visual art or poetry, here is how art abides while we persist and find our way.” —Sue Goyette
“There’s a spellbinding intimacy here, between analyst and patient, the two women characters, and, most importantly, between poet and reader. A compelling examination of how much we depend on others, especially when it comes to ‘seeing’ ourselves through someone else’s eyes. Needless to say, the real subject is love.” — Philip Schultz
“With gusto, compassion, and wit matched by consummate craft and remarkable tonal range, Peacock revels in the liberties of language. The stroke of the ‘intimate witness’ (the poet’s beloved analyst) spurs a series of lyric meditations on the forces that shape and reshape identity. With the singular achievement of her seventh collection, Peacock transforms her art.” — Phillis Levin
“Guided to ‘listen, question, and watch things heal,’ I felt both the sting of recognition and the balm of comfort in these honest, graceful poems.” — Rachel Zucker
“Psychoanalysis has always been of a piece with the various languages of literature—a kind of practical poetry—taking its life, as theory and practice, from a larger world of words. A session lasts 50 minutes, [and it’s] always at the same time each week, the way a sonnet is 14 lines. As Molly Peacock superbly demonstrates in The Analyst, the form makes possible the articulation.” — Adam Phillips