A Phenomenological Study of the Experience of Poetry

Don Kuiken
University of Alberta
The present study utilized research design in which six different poems were given repeated readings by groups of persons in which there were an equal number of males and females and of introverts and extraverts as assessed by the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator (Myers, 1962). Assessments of readers’ experience of the poem were obtained immediately after an initial reading and again after repeated readings of the poem. Subjects' general descriptions of their experience of the poems were reduced to fundamental descriptions (Colaizzi, 1969) by a three-step procedure (preliminary listing, grouping, and constituent definition) and then resynthesized in a fourth step that placed the constituents into a coherent general description. As understanding increased, readers experience became less personal and more closely related to that intended by the poet. The general trend was increased imagery but attenuation of emotional experience as both were experienced as a part of or derived more directly from the poem itself.
Keywords phenomenological methods  philosophy of psychology
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DOI 10.1163/156916277X00079
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