Everything I try feels like sublimation

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Senior Member
This is from Life after life by Kate Atkinson.

'Do you still write poetry, Teddy?’
‘Can’t find the words any more. Everything I try feels like sublimation. Making pretty images out of war.'

I don't understand the meaning of the sentence highlighted in bold. Would you like to help me? Thank you.
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Teddy is telling you that he doesn't think his poetry is genuinely artistic now. Instead, he thinks his efforts at writing poetry are just attempts by him to redirect the emotional energy* he has built up over his war experiences into poetry. That seems to impede his efforts to write good poems.

    * That's a loose definition for the term "sublimate", minhduc.
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