9-2 | The Poet’s Voice in the Making of Mind

Book Review

The Poet’s Voice in the Making of Mind

Russell Meares
New York, NY: Routledge, 2016. Acknowledgments, introduction, references, and author index. 222 pp. $33.56 paper. ISBN: 9780415572347

by Terry Marks-Tarlow

First Paragraph:

The Poet’s Voice in the Making of Mind tackles one of the most fascinating mys-teries of all: how the human mind comes into being and what distinguishes it from our nearest simian relatives. The book sweeps across evolution and development at a dizzying pace, touching upon biology, philosophy, linguistics, psychotherapy, lit-erature, human development, and neuro-science. Meares’s through line is how the germ of mind gets planted in each child initially through play. The process begins with the earliest conversations between mother and child, when instinctively the mother sets up a kind of pretend game that is half real, half imaginary. Mother speaks to baby “as if ” the infant under-stands; and through her words and coos, she pours hopes, dreams, intentions, and perceptions into the space between herself and the baby. Amazingly, from the start, baby does understand mother’s love, her underlying intentions, and the nuances of her tone. Through this dialogue, a child slowly internalizes a mother’s pictures of inner and outer worlds, eventually under-standing even the content of her words.