“Humbled by Life”: Poetic Representations of Existential Pathways and Personal Life Philosophies Among Older Adults in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
In this article, we support the use of poetic representations to study experiential and existential meaning-making. We do so by presenting five spoken-word poems, which we created out of the transcriptions of 14 in-depth interviews with Norwegian older adults, prior to their enrollment in a biographical writing course. The poetic representations which have been named by themes from the transcript are (a) Where love takes us, (b) Relax during catastrophes, (c) Learning to see humankind as one common humanity, (d) Listen inward, (e) Life is, indeed, too short. Each poetic representation condenses diverse meanings and perspectives about life. They also maintain the anonymity of participants, as the plurality of their voices becomes one within the stanzas. While presenting this creative form of qualitative inquiry and providing some methodological reflections, we also discuss the implications of this approach for the theoretical development of the notions of personal life philosophies and existential pathways in cultural psychology.