Poetic Condensations

a translation tool in the form of poetry

What is it for?

The analytical nature of the synthesis process in research tends to make researchers and designers alike focus on the facts and statistics. The potential for rich storytelling might be easily lost in that process. Poetic Condensations is a different kind of translation process where interview transcripts are re-configured and written in stanza form.

It facilitates storytelling and makes people’s tacit insights accessible and understood more wholeheartedly.


People who read your interview insights–in this case in the form of poems–feel more strongly connected to the ideas, experiences, and emotions your interviewees have shared. It changes the way you read dense transcriptions and share insights with people you work with.

Emotion-Centered Design

What does it look like?

Through Poetic Condensations, interview transcriptions are translated into poems. The research insights are told as stories and connect with the audience emotionally.

Participants’ State of Mind

poetic, creative, open

Level of Complexity (1–5)


Time for Participation

30 mins to 2 hrs

Use Case

Poetic Condensations

Image Description: Text, a paragraph-long excerpt of a transcription followed by two stanzas of a poem with the same content from the original transcription. Poetic Condensation by Helena Cleeve (formerly Kjellgren)
Image Description: Left: Poem titled “Independence,” two stanzas long describing the story told by a Certified Nurse’s Assistant. Right: An illustration of a elder individual taking of a magenta cardigan, wearing one sock, and slippers in front of them. Poetic Condensation and illustration by Helena Cleeve (formerly Kjellgren)


Adapted to Matter–Mind Studio from Helena Cleeve (formerly Kjellgren), Poetic Negotiations. A. Poetic Condensations: Insights of Caregivers.

New to the lookbook? Check out the Reader’s Guide!