Slow Fuse of the Possible
A Memoir of Poetry and Psychoanalysis
Slow Fuse of the Possible is a poet’s narrative of a troubled psychoanalysis. It is also a commanding meditation on the powers of language, for good and for ill.
From the beginning of their time together, it is clear that the enigmatic analyst and Daniels are not a good match, yet both are determined to continue their work—the former in nearly complete silence, and the latter as best she can with the tools at her disposal: careful attention to language, deep reading, and literary imagination. Throughout, the story is filtered through the mind of Emily Dickinson, whose poetry Daniels uses as a fulcrum for the interpretation of her own experience. The book is saturated with Dickinson’s verse, and Dickinson is an increasingly haunting presence as crises emerge and the author unravels.
This compelling lyric memoir, so richly steeped in all facets of language and the literary, allows readers a glimpse into the mind of a renowned poet, revealing the dazzling and anguished connections between poetry and psychoanalysis.
Afterward and Acknowledgments
Kate Daniels is the author of six poetry collections, including In the Months of My Son’s Recovery. A former Guggenheim Fellow, she is the Edwin Mims Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. She teaches writing at the Washington-Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis and is a former poet in residence at Duke Medical and Vanderbilt Medical.
“Daniels is a keen observer of visceral moments and powerful emotions.”
“Kate Daniels has transformed a painfully failed analysis into an unlikely, original, and successful book, a compellingly personal and brave study of poetry and psychoanalysis, her interrelated passions, which she treats with a mixture of wry poignance and deep devotion. Slow Fuse is a book of burning soulfulness.”
Edward Hirsch, author of 100 Poems to Break Your Heart
“A searching, scorching account of psyche, psychoanalysis, and life. Through Kate Daniels we appreciate the gift of poetic creation in the midst of destructive moments.”
Michael Eigen, author of The Challenge of Being Human, The Sensitive Self, and Contact with the Depths
“Her continual emphasis on language is no accident: she shows the ways in which the processes of analysis and writing mirror and inform each other, delving as they do into what’s figurative and metaphorical. Slow Fuse of the Possible is a compelling memoir about tense and turbulent experiences within an analysis relationship.”
“It is a fascinating book—amazing in its candor and its ability to capture the flow of free association, like pinning down an ocean wave. Certainly, it offers a new way to think about poetry.”
“Beautiful and harrowing. . . . A compulsively readable, brave document that allows the reader to enter into Daniels’s world of words in a way that is moving and enriching.”
Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin