Table of Contents
1. Poiesis, Therapy and the Arts. 2. Poiesis: From Phenomenology to
Imagination. 3. The Way of Poiesis: A Chinese Perspective. 4.
Poiesis, Improvisation, Identity. 5. Last Words.
The first book to focus on the philosophical foundations of
expressive arts therapy
About the Author
Stephen K. Levine is Professor Emeritus at York University
in Toronto and Founding Dean of the Doctoral Program in Expressive
Arts at the European Graduate School, Switzerland. He has authored
and edited many books in the field of expressive arts therapy and
is based in Toronto, Canada.
From my close perspective on Stephen K. Levine's work over the
past four decades, I applaud Philosophy of Expressive Arts
Therapy and its 'integration' of a lifework of poiesis
(making). This volume includes seminal essays on trauma,
imagination, and beauty together with new and timely writings on
identity and relationships with China and East Asia.
I have always admired Levine's unique and dogged affirmation of the
productive role of breaking to make anew, described here as
'unintegration', and its vital place in creative expression. I am
struck by how he so clearly connects this alchemical process to our
common commitment to the classical Chinese emphasis of creating
ourselves through artistic expression.
Among the book's many achievements is the insistence that the
creation of a person, a community, and a world is ongoing, never
finished and always transcending fixed identities; it is a process
where beauty is the "presence" of engagements with each other and
the life we make, now.
-- Shaun McNiff, author of Imagination in Action, Art Heals, Art as
Medicine, Professor at Lesley University
In his most stunning new work as a philosopher, therapist, teacher
and artist, Levine offers us an invitation into the heart and soul
of expressive arts, weaving a narrative both profoundly compelling
and generously accessible. With his deeply lived personal
experiences, he offers himself up as if a case study on the work
itself. I find in this masterful work the beauty of an embodied
thinker, a vulnerable risk taker, a humble seeker who, with
persevering commitment, asks us to join him in looking to the arts
to bring worlds and people together. -- Daria Halprin, Tamalpa
Institute, Author of The Expressive Body in Life, Art & Therapy
Both personal and profound, this collection of essays and poems
represents an intellectual and artistic journey through life of an
important philosopher, teacher and poet of expressive arts. This is
an inspiring read and a unique contribution to the field. -- Sally
Atkins, Ed.D. Core Faculty, the European Graduate School, Professor
Emerita, Appalachian State University
Philosopher, therapist, poet, performer and elder sage, Stephen
Levine once againtakes us down the road where very few in the field
of expressive arts dare to go. From his early days studying
philosophy and protesting injustice, to his studies of 'Oriental'
or Taoist thought, Levine makes clear that Poiesis is the Way (Tao)
of expressive arts; a form of 'wu-wei', or non-doing activity that
lets itself be guided by what emerges, in order to discover
something new. What is always consistently central is the idea of
Poiesis - the capacity to engage creatively with what we are given
in life and to shape it anew. In each chapter Levine emphasizes
expressive arts as a kind of social action, an essential connection
from self to community to world. Woven throughout the book are also
personal and vulnerable reflections on life, suffering and
regeneration, in the form of his own poignant and moving poetry.
This book is a must read for anyone, not just those in the field of
expressive arts but for all who want to understand a deeper way to
be alive and connect with their own sense of creative renewal. --
Mitchell Kossak PhD, LMHC, REAT, Associate Professor, Counseling
and Expressive Therapies, Lesley University