Individual Presentation:
• Howard Stein: Some Contributions of Applied Psychohistorical Poetry to Imagining, Understanding, Facilitating Healing in the Shadow of Hopes and Fears in Our Polarized World

Abstract: Through condensed expression, description, evocation, allusion, imagery, symbolism, metaphor, alliteration, rhyme and other poetic approaches, the idiom of applied poetry is proposed to be an essential instrument of psychohistorical understanding and even healing of the chasms of polarizing psychodynamic and political splits driven by individual, group, and intergroup’s hopes and fears. Hope and fear have been the subjects of poets’ creativity for centuries.  Applied psychohistorical poetry immerses a reader and listener at once in the inner world of the poet, the poem itself, and the reawakened memories, emotions, and stories in people who hear poetry’s sounds and see its texts. In this way, unconsciously rooted imagination and fantasy are a bridge to lived psychohistorical reality.

Complementing traditional psychohistorical methods, applied poetry deepens and opens us to levels of lived psychohistorical reality that narrative, linear scholarship often lacks. It facilitates inner, interpersonal, and intergroup dialogue. Perhaps it also offers access to some of the “Why?” of psychohistory in addressing this IPhA conference’s theme. The presenter will read, discuss, and facilitate discussion of applied poetry, most of which is his own, that (1) attempts to help the reader/listener enter into a split apart world you cannot make up; (2) helps make sense (interpretation, explanation) of that lived experience and evoke the reader/listener’s own life stories; and (3) promote healing of the dangerous rifts binarism inflicts upon us all.

Bio: Howard F. Stein, PhD, is Professor Emeritus, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. He is a poet, an applied anthropologist, a psychoanalytic anthropologist, medical anthropologist, an organizational anthropologist, and psychohistorian. He is Poet Laureate of the High Plains Society for Applied Anthropology, and the Psychohistorical Poet Laureate. He is the author of more than 30 books of poetry and prose, incl. Listening Deeply: An Approach to Understanding and Consulting in Organizational Culture, Beneath the Crust of Culture: Psychoanalytic Anthropology and the Cultural Unconscious in American Life, Centre and Circumference: A Collection of Poems, and others. He can be reached at

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