Poesiläsning som meningsskapare : en studie om poesigrupper på sjukhem och hospice

Inger Eriksson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This is a study of poetry reading in groups at nursing homes and hospices, offering opportunities for conversation. The purpose of the investigation is to understand whether and how poetry reading can help patients cope with their situation in life. The first part of the study is based on three projects, including a large number of documented poetry reading groups as well as interviews with patients.

Reading and listening to poetry and participation in a poetry reading group with conversation gave the participants fellowship, a sense of well-being, relief, comfort, joy, inner peace and an opportunity to express personal hope, longing and concern about important issues in life. Urgent themes include major concerns such as love, death and despair, but also topics that may first appear to be only minor ones.

Poems with an atmosphere in tune with the mood of the reader, as well as those in a different mood, can mentally help the participants. Poems, where participants recognize themselves and are offered words and images that express their own experiences, touch deeply. Through the ambiguity of a poem and its use of metaphors, participants are given the opportunity to indirectly express their own experiences. Thus, poetry reading can create meaning.

The study also introduces an aesthetic perspective, built particularly on the poetic theories of Hans Ruin and Pia Tafdrup. This perspective aims at understanding the function of poetry reading and its influence on the participants. Reading and listening to poetry exerts influence at psychological, physical, spiritual and social levels. The aesthetic perspective is based on values in line with the hospice-inspired care-perspective that may be realized in poetry reading groups.

Based upon the results of this study, a proposal is made for running poetry groups in palliative care, including opportunities to talk about life issues and to express and share feelings, thoughts and experiences.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
  • Armgard, Lars-Olle, Supervisor, External person
Award date2006 Nov 9
Print ISBNs91-975249-4-8
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2006-11-09
Time: 14:15
Place: Edens hörsal, Paradisgatan 5 H, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Bråkenhielm, Carl Reinhold
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: Teologiska institutionen Uppsala universitet


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion


  • Allmän och jämförande litteraturvetenskap
  • General and comparative literature
  • Religion och teologi
  • Religious Studies and Theology
  • aestethic perspective
  • comfort
  • palliative care
  • poetry reading groups
  • life issues
  • Social medicine
  • Socialmedicin
  • samhällsmedicin

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