ANNA VITALE was born in Detroit City and is currently a student in UW Madison's English Literature graduate education program. Her first two chapbooks, Breaststa (Mondo Bummer) and Anna Vitale's Pop Poems (OMG), were published in 2010. She's writing some other books called Dreams and Anna Vitale's Autobiography. A few of her recordings are available at LIMIT ( and is an online audio mag she helps to edit.

When Psychoanalysis is Poetry: On Anna Vitale’s Work

45 minutes a day, 4 times a week, for the past 12 years. The cost has ranged from $25 a session to $90 a session. The only time she was able to pay the full amount was when she was a school bus driver for Ann Arbor Public Schools and had Blue Cross Blue Shield. She hated filing the insurance claims. It probably took only a half an hour every month, but the job felt so big to her. Each time she had to write the same thing: psychodynamic psychotherapy, the diagnosis code, the location of the visits, the length of the visits. She had terrible feelings and thoughts, most of the time, most days. She often wanted to know, why are you making me fill out the forms? Why don’t you do this yourself? I didn’t have the time to do this for everyone and I needed to focus on giving her what she needed: a blank slate for projection. This is hard work, cutting yourself out so they can see themselves.

AV can’t think about how and to whom she sells her time without thinking about the time she’s been purchasing since 2000. When she started psychoanalysis, she needed to buy time because she had none. Her crisis was too deep. Having her college education paid for by her grandfather (a vice president of U.S. Steel) made it possible for her parents to help with the costs of analysis. She bought my time (which was to become her own) at a reduced rate so she could survive. Ultimately, the work of analysis has made it possible for her to continue the work of being a poet and begin the work of becoming a scholar.

In many ways, she is lucky, but would never call herself this. I love my work and I’ve done my best to show her what loving is. When she asked me if I loved her, I told her that love is in the work. 

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