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Molofsky, M. (2015). Pretend Ballads: Poems by Edward Mccrorie. By Edward McCrorie. Astoria, N.Y.: International Psychoanalytic Books, 2014, 76 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 102(2):309-312.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Review, 102(2):309-312


Pretend Ballads: Poems by Edward Mccrorie. By Edward McCrorie. Astoria, N.Y.: International Psychoanalytic Books, 2014, 76 pp.

Review by:
Merle Molofsky, NCPsyA, LP

Readers of this unusual book of poems, with commentary by psychoanalysts and scholars, will discover what Sigmund Freud understood when he famously said, “Not I, but the poets, discovered the unconscious” and “The poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious. What I discovered was the scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied” (Lehrman, 1940).

Pretend Ballads is a profoundly moving, unusual, indeed, unique book of poetry, a book of poetry beyond poetry, poems that commemorate, elucidate, and give voice to the aftermath of shock and trauma of children whose mothers had been pregnant at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, and whose fathers died in that attack. These poems evoke the terror and pain of the widowed mothers-to-be, the loss they and the children they were about to bear suffered, and the experience of the children themselves.

Why beyond poetry? In addition to the nature of the poems themselves, the book contains valuable essays, “Remarks” by psychoanalysts and scholars, including Beatrice Beebe, Billie Pivnick, Phyllis Cohen, and K. Mark Sossin, and photographs by Zack Neumann.

In the author's “Acknowledgments,” McCrorie states that “Most of these poems were inspired by Mothers, Infants and Young Children of September 11, 2001, A Primary Prevention Project” and credits the editors and other contributors. In her “Remarks,” Beatrice Beebe describes the project concisely and delicately, the impact of bereavement on the children in the mother-child dyad, and the use of free play and video assessment of mother-child interaction.

[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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