In The Poetry of Belonging: Healing With the Language of the Wound, Iris J. Gildea invites readers to envision radical ways forward regarding trauma theory and embodied healing. Using an autoethnographic approach, frameworks of feminist phenomenology, earth-based spirituality, and poetic inquiry, Iris' memories mix with imagination as ancient healing wisdom unleashes itself in her dreams and waking life. In Part One, Iris critiques contemporary trauma theory from the inside out. She shows why traditional trauma theory's reliance on a praxis of deficiency that considers survivors of complex childhood trauma as "broken" is faulty. In Part Two, she pivots to provide a radically more integrative approach to healing. Using her own poetic inquiry practice which she calls "a beautiful process of discovery through the languaging of my wound and body," Iris invites readers on a journey of writing with the wound. She shows first hand how self-love and thriving emerge when poetry and earth-based spirituality become a foundation of embodied belonging. Prompts, guidelines, and rituals are also offered for those who want to develop a practice of poetic inquiry to support their healing journey.
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