This article is an exploratory empirical study of a form of interpersonal relationality that takes the form of a speech event in which one participant produces a spoken turn that exhibits a poetic relationship to a co-participant’s unspoken thoughts or unarticulated mental imagery. The data consist of anecdotal reports, which are analysed in relation to empirical findings from conversation analytic studies of formulations in institutional and naturally occurring talk. The first part of the article establishes its robustness and describes some recurrent properties. The analysis shows how poetic turns formulate modulated versions of others’ sensitive or delicate thoughts or imagery, thereby performing a form of Goffmanesque remedial work. In the discussion, methodological and substantive implications of this phenomenon are discussed, specifically: the use of anecdotes in sociological research, the porousness of personal boundaries, and theoretical accounts of relationality.
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- relationality; poetics; resonance; formulations; telepathy; interiority; interaction