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Civitarese, G. (2020). I and you: by Donald Moss, New York: Second Story Press, 2017, vi + 179pp., $20.00 (paperback). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 101(1):217-221.

(2020). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 101(1):217-221

I and you: by Donald Moss, New York: Second Story Press, 2017, vi + 179pp., $20.00 (paperback)

Review by:
Giuseppe Civitarese

Every day, in every session for a whole year, Donald Moss chose a single sentence spoken by one of his patients. Preserving the order in which they had been uttered, he then collected them into units which are presented as poetic compositions (each sentence a “verse”). We feel the voices resonating almost concretely. We find expressions in them like those of our own patients. We appreciate their wisdom, their searing or gentle irony, their humour. We share their sadness, despair, boredom, their disillusionment at the sense of futility sometimes aroused in them. We don’t know who is speaking, whether there is one person on a certain page or several different people. In an editorial note, Moss informs us that the material comes from different hours with different patients on a single day; but we could happily turn the pages without knowing this information, pretending for example that it is all the same person, and therefore the many voices which echo in her head.

So, the book invites a work of invention, mixing and reassembling the given order. We could create our own sequences of phrases. For example, reading the book I enjoyed writing a sequence by putting together some “verses” in which patients refer directly to the analyst and, in so doing, fragment by fragment, they construct a mirror image of him. Sometimes patients provoke: “I never imagine you as human,” “People get the analyst they deserve,” “There’s no limit to my not caring what you say”; sometimes they apologize: “Dr.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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