Unhearing Online Suicide Talk: Becoming- Voice through the Use of Maddening Poetic Conversations

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This article advances the creative and theory-informed use of research poetry as a critical methodology in qualitative psychological research. As a case in point, we drew insights from Ken Gale’s maddening as methodology to make sense of online texts on youth suicide. In this context, we retheorize maddening poetic conversations as an alternative structure to research poetry to grapple with naturally occurring data online. As an analytical approach, the authors resist interrogating a speaking human subject, but rather argue the constitution of space – an ‘online-offline’ synergy that is open to affective, political, and emplaced non-human agents. Using online postings of young people bereaved due to the death of their peer, we described a reflexive, dialogical, and performative writing praxis through poetry as an alternative mode of analysis and presentation. As a methodological innovation, poetic conversations may hold a valuable space for multiple and conflicting perspectives on emotionally charged and culturally taboo topics like youth suicide. As a reflexive process, holding difficult spaces allow listeners to reverberate personal and social struggles in sense making and to communicate the emotional disruptions in navigating silent and silenced spaces of death and dying.