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Cover for Towards a General Theory of Love

Towards a General Theory of Love

Clare Shaw


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Clare Shaw's fourth collection Towards a General Theory of Love shows that poetry can say as much as about who we are - and especially how we feel - as psychology. They also feed each other.

Harry Harlow's famous experiments on baby monkeys changed the course of psychology. They proved that we need care, contact and love - and they inflicted profound and lasting suffering on their subjects. Clare Shaw's poems in Towards a General Theory of Love are driven by the same furious need to understand the experience of love and its absence. Harlow's findings, attachment theory, mythology and art are set alongside stories of attraction, grief and desire. The book is inhabited by the character of Monkey, who shows by example how early attachments and trauma may shape us, but how ultimately the individual - like the reader - will come to realise her, his or their own general theory and practice of love.

Bloodaxe Books, 9781780376042, 80pp.

Publication Date: August 9, 2022

About the Author

Clare Shaw was born in Burnley, UK in 1972. As well as being a poet, Clare is also a mental health trainer and consultant and has taught and published widely in the field. Along with the novelist Winnie M Li, Clare was the recipient of a Royal Society of Literature Literature Matters award in 2019, creating workshops and an online resource for survivors of trauma. Clare's work has been shortlisted for the Glen Dimplex New Writers' Award for Poetry and Highly Commended in the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Clare recently recently received a Northern Writers' Award for work that appears in Towards a General Theory of Love.