New Directions – “Psychoanalysis: We have a Story to Tell”
May 3, 2024
Freud understood the power of stories, captivating the world with his case histories of Dora, Little Hans, the Rat Man and the Wolf Man. Stories fire the imagination. Yet over the years, psychoanalytic writing grew obscure, bogged down in complicated jargon and theory.
Writers utilize psychoanalytic ideas not only to fully develop their characters and create settings resonant with feeling, but also to understand their own imaginative processes: tolerating the anxiety of allowing material to gestate and unfold, recognizing resistances to exploring certain subject matter, understanding the motivations behind work, discovering unconscious themes.
This weekend we hope to inspire you to find new and creative ways of telling your stories– whether in the form of fiction, poetry, op-eds or essays–allowing readers to marvel at the complexity and beauty of what it means to be human. Each genre, offering a pathway to a deep psychological truth, allowing a reader to put themselves in the mind of another, capturing a deeper wisdom about human nature, resonating long after they are heard.
Coordinator: Kerry Malawista, Ph.D.
Kate Daniels, a 2008 graduate of New Directions, is the author of six books of poetry, as well as Slow Fuse of the Possible: A Memoir of Poetry and Psychoanalysis (2022), an inter-genre prose work that explores connections between psychoanalysis and poetry, focusing on the psychodynamic aspects of the writing process. A former Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry, and Bunting Fellow (now Radcliffe Institute) at Harvard, she is an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and three Best American Poetry awards. Her poetry is collected in more than seventy-five anthologies. Formerly, poet in residence at Duke University Medical Center and at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, she has given talks and workshops at selected psychoanalytic training centers and institutes in the U.S. on the topic of creative writing and psychoanalysis. She is the Edwin Mims Professor of English Emerita at Vanderbilt University.
Lisa Gornick, PhD is a graduate of the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Yale and the psychoanalytic training program at Columbia, where she is on the voluntary faculty. Her academic writing includes papers about women treating men, Freud’s engagement with creative writers and the topic of creative writing, and the parallels between the processes of imaginative writing and psychotherapy. No longer in practice, she is now primarily focused on writing. Her work includes four novels: The Peacock Feast, Tinderbox, and Louisa Meets Bear – all jointly published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Picador—and A Private Sorcery, published by Algonquin. Her stories and essays have appeared widely, including in The New York Times, Prairie Schooner, Salon, Slate, Real Simple, and The Wall Street Journal, and have received many honors including Distinguished Story by the Best American Short Stories. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and sons. More information can be found at lisagornickauthor.com.
Emma Lieber is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York and part time faculty in Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College, The New School. She is the author of The Writing Cure (Bloomsbury 2020) and coeditor, with Anna Fishzon, of The Queerness of Childhood: Essays from the Other Side of the Looking Glass (Palgrave 2022). Her writing has appeared in LitHub, The Point Magazine, The New England Review, The Massachusetts Review, and various academic and psychoanalytic publications.
She is currently working on Impossible Professions, a book manuscript on psychoanalysis and education, as well as articles on psychoanalysis and autotheory and psychoanalysis and Jewishness.
Rebekah Rutkoff is the author of The Irresponsible Magician: Essays and Fictions (semiotexte, 2015) and the forthcoming Double Vision: The Cinema of Robert Beavers (MIT Press) and the editor of Robert Beavers (Austrian Film Museum, 2017). Her writing — which spans research-based scholarship, creative nonfiction and fiction — engages with psychoanalysis as both form and content; she writes on ancient theories of dreaming, the psychic dimensions of avant-garde cinema, and the intersubjective space of first-person prose. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at NJIT.