A Poetic Path from Melancholy to Mourning: Robert Lowell's Elegies as Case Study


This essay builds on a previous one in this journal (Cole, 2005) that details how reading elegiac poetry, the poetry of mourning, may be a pastoral resource for complicated grief or what is classically termed melancholia. A study of elegies by poet Robert Lowell (1917–1977), which depict a progression from melancholia to more “typical” mourning, demonstrates how thinking and writing in elegiac terms may offer a similar resource, whether for one's own melancholia or that of persons in one's care.

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Correspondence to Allan Hugh Cole Jr..

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Allan Hugh Cole, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

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Cole, A.H. A Poetic Path from Melancholy to Mourning: Robert Lowell's Elegies as Case Study. Pastoral Psychol 54, 103–137 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-005-6198-2

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  • elegy
  • melancholia
  • grief
  • lowell
  • mourning
  • poetry
  • narrative therapy