Original Research

(In)dependent meaning: Representations of addiction and recovery in selected poems produced in a rehabilitation centre

Antoinette Pretorius, Andy Carolin, Reinhardt Fourie, Lida Krüger
Literator | Vol 38, No 1 | a1395 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v38i1.1395 | © 2017 Antoinette Pretorius, Andy Carolin, Reinhardt Fourie, Lida Krüger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2017 | Published: 31 August 2017

About the author(s)

Antoinette Pretorius, Department of English Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa
Andy Carolin, Department of English Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa
Reinhardt Fourie, Department of English Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa
Lida Krüger, Department of English Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

In this article we provide a close reading of selected poems written during creative writing workshops at a drug rehabilitation centre. We argue that these poems expose some of the uncertainties and complexities that characterise the representation of identity in experiences of addiction and recovery. We show that the speakers in these poems attempt to imagine and represent their experiences in language through a number of structuring binaries. These binaries include those between the speaker’s experiences of active addiction and recovery, and the speaker’s personal experience versus societal expectations and perceptions. Our reading of these poems is informed by the clinical context in which they were written, and our analysis reflects the bifurcation that governs this liminal space. Individual agency in these different spheres is approached in a very tentative way, and the speakers in these poems are shown to have trouble envisioning the future at the same time as their pasts appear unsettled. We argue finally that while current discourses and vocabularies surrounding addiction seem incomplete and inadequate for the expression of some complex experiences, poetry provides a platform that accommodates ambivalence and a multiplicity of meanings.

Keywords

discourses of addiction; poetry; creative writing; drug rehabilitation

Metrics

Total abstract views: 748
Total article views: 733


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.