Response: Phenomenology/Body/Poetry

This is a response to tmbenjamin10 ‘s suggested topic from my post National Poetry Month , “…I’ve been recently wondering and reading around the subject of phenomenology and its effect on how we treat the body in poetry. Please feel free to take a stab at the subject…” .

This is a big subject and a lot to chew on so it’s taken me while to compose a response but I hope that my insight/reflection helps.


First, I want to break down the word ‘Phenomenology’, it is a long and complicated term that means simply ‘the study of phenomena’ which is often related to Philosophy (

The Philosophical study of Phenomenology can be defined as, ‘…the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view.’ (

I want to stick to these two definitions of Phenomenology as I apply the body in poetry to this term.

The body in poetry can sometimes be used to represent or express what is happening internally with the ‘subject’ of the poem. The body can also represent what is happening externally. It is the relationship of subject and representation in poetry that can be linked  to phenomena and the body.


For example,


                                               (The body has become a physical interpretation for the                                                       decay of the city)

“The body breaks    

away with

the rubble of

the city”

(my own words)

(Body is representing phenomena in the outside                                                                      environment regardless if the expression and event are                                                      linked by action or not)


Second Example,


“Thunder rumbled above me,                  ( Here the outside event -phenomena- is linked                                                                         to the body, expressed in a reaction that can be                                                                       deciphered as either emotional or physical)

my body static with electricity,



(my own words)


Another example that came to my mind, when I read the words phenomenology, body and poetry in the same sentence, was the ancient belief that there were gods that could control natural forces (i.e. Greek and Roman Mythology) and that if you pissed off the gods they would kill you (often by natural forces; earthquakes, floods, storms). So if I were to apply the same principles to poetry and the body it would be something like this,

phenomena/natural forces+body/response (internal/external)= poetry

I can also switch around ‘body’ with ‘gods’ and ‘phenomena’ with                                               ’emotions/expression/poetry’.

Overall, it depends entirely on what you want to do with the ‘body’ in a poem and how you want the ‘body’ to relate (either internally or externally) to the outside world (phenomena/natural forces) in this way the body has the ability of being both God and Human, either expressing how the God can manipulate the environment or vice versa.


Here’s another example that crossed my mind after thinking about Gods. The movie Carrie (1976) Directed by Brian De Palma, is about a teenage girl with psychic powers ( Carrie as a body in a poem can directly influence her environment through phenomena and in another way the supernatural events that happen around Carrie can be related to phenomena affecting the body (the emotions of these events would be Poetry).

I am not sure if this last example really helps. In my mind I think of Gods and Poltergeists when I read about the study of Phenomenology. I think that a good literary example of how there is a close connection between poetry, body and phenomena would be ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man‘ by James Joyce. Although it is often thought of as a difficult and dense text, it can be related to these subjects easily through an analysis of the technique and style that Joyce uses to tell the story of young Stephen Dedalus.

Well, tmbenjamin10 please let me know what you think of my response (if you get a chance to read this). I really appreciate your suggestion and Thank You for helping me contribute to NaPoMo!!!


sources:      (‘Carrie’ original story by Stephen King)


If you are reading this THANK YOU for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!


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