"Hope is that fiery feeling": Using Poetry as Data to Explore the Meanings of Hope for Young People

Emily Bishop, Karen Willis


Poetic inquiry is a contentious area of qualitative research. In this article, we discuss some of the issues plaguing this field of inquiry. We then analyse a collection of poems about hope written by a sample of young people from Tasmania, Australia. The poems were written as part of the 2011 Tree of Hope project, which utilised multiple, arts-based methods to provide insights into what young people hope for in the future and the role of hope in their lives. Participants utilised one of three poetic structures. While each structure produced distinct themes, a connection between "hope and happiness" overlapped the two structured types of poetry—the acrostic and sense poetry. However, when writing free verse poetry, the expression of additional dimensions of hope, including the flipside of both having hope and losing hope was evident. We conclude that hope is particularly important to young people and that inviting participant-voiced poetry is an effective technique for investigating conceptual topics such as young people and hope.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs140194


young people; hope; poetic inquiry; poetry; Australia

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Copyright (c) 2014 Emily Bishop, Karen Willis

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