This research explores the possibility of expressing and confronting trauma in the critical site of prison through the medium of poetry. Historically rooted in Holocaust studies, trauma has been conceptualized as a psychological wound that cannot be expressed nor healed through any media, least of all, literature. In response to the call of literary theorists for a theory of narrative that incorporates healing, Masterson et al. contend that the revelatory and therapeutic power of literature can help extend the conceptual frontiers of trauma and, accordingly, proceed to explore different narratives from this perspective. This incipient project does not explore prison poetry, leading this researcher to pose the following questions: To what extent can poetry express trauma in all its complexities and ambiguities? To what extent does poetry serve as a therapeutic medium for people exposed to trauma?
To answer these questions, this study examines James Matthews‟ Poems from a Prison Cell and Kofi Awoonor‟s The House by the Sea as sites of trauma that offer opportunities for expressing and confronting it. To this end, the study appropriates the trauma insights of Cathy Caruth, Dori Laub, Sigmund Freud as well as Stephen Springman‟s concept of the listening public. Close textual analysis and inter-textual references constitute the basic methodology this study uses to reach its conclusions, while also drawing on secondary sources to support its argument. The study extends the conceptual frontiers of trauma and adds to scholarship on James Matthews and Kofi Awoonor. It recommends that a wide-ranging analysis of the poetic works of different categories of prisoners across the globe be conducted to determine similarities and differences in their response to prison trauma.
Key Words: expressing, confronting, trauma, prison, Holocaust, psychological, wound, healing
SSA, R (2021). Rethinking the Wound: A Reading of Trauma in James Matthews' Poems From a Prison Cell and Kofi Awoonor's The House By the Sea. Afribary.com: Retrieved April 15, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/rethinking-the-wound-a-reading-of-trauma-in-james-matthews-poems-from-a-prison-cell-and-kofi-awoonor-s-the-house-by-the-sea
Research, SSA. "Rethinking the Wound: A Reading of Trauma in James Matthews' Poems From a Prison Cell and Kofi Awoonor's The House By the Sea" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 01 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/rethinking-the-wound-a-reading-of-trauma-in-james-matthews-poems-from-a-prison-cell-and-kofi-awoonor-s-the-house-by-the-sea . Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.
Research, SSA. "Rethinking the Wound: A Reading of Trauma in James Matthews' Poems From a Prison Cell and Kofi Awoonor's The House By the Sea". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 01 Apr. 2021. Web. 15 Apr. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/rethinking-the-wound-a-reading-of-trauma-in-james-matthews-poems-from-a-prison-cell-and-kofi-awoonor-s-the-house-by-the-sea >.
Research, SSA. "Rethinking the Wound: A Reading of Trauma in James Matthews' Poems From a Prison Cell and Kofi Awoonor's The House By the Sea" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed April 15, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/rethinking-the-wound-a-reading-of-trauma-in-james-matthews-poems-from-a-prison-cell-and-kofi-awoonor-s-the-house-by-the-sea