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Bob Holman & Margery Snyder

Poetry Cures Ills of the Heart, Mind and Body

By September 7, 2007

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Poems have always served as medicines for the human soul—the use of poetry as a mental and emotional curative is now institutionalized in The National Poetry Therapy Association. But every once in a while, poetry makes news as a means of physical healing as well—remember Scott Adams’ rhyming cure last year for the neurological disorder that had rendered him speechless?

from The San Francisco Chronicle:
Warrior poet’s story is one of hope, dogged determination,” by John Coté
“Wilkerson credits writing poetry, something he was able to remember doing before his brain injury, as a driving force in his recovery... ‘My injuries are on the left side of my body, but my poetry is on the right side of my brain,’ Wilkerson said. ‘That actually made me feel like I was a man again, rather than a patient.’ ‘He’s our warrior poet,’ said Susan Feighery, one of his treatment specialists at the VA.”

from Natural Solutions:
The Poetry Cure,” by Ann Japenga
“Her cushion? Not a daily meditation practice or a stress-busting supplement, but poetry. In her mind’s eye, its images and rhythms transform her everyday surroundings into something new and fresh... Sure, it’s 120 degrees outside, but isn’t that brutal glare simply the world blazing, ‘like shining from shook foil,’ as Gerard Manley Hopkins said?”

Poetry Therapy at other About.com sites:
About Alcoholism & Substance Abuse—“Addicts Use Poetry as Addiction Therapy
About Headaches & Migraines—“Writing As Therapy, Pain Into Poetry
About Holistic Healing—Bibliotherapy
About Teens—“Writing Therapy for Troubled Teens


December 5, 2009 at 5:55 pm
(1) Doug Holder says:

I will be teaching a course on Poets at McLean Hospital:

Doug Holder to teach: Residencies at the Asylum: Poets at McLean Hospital / Newton Community Education / Starting Jan 12, 2010
Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 8:59am | Edit Note | Delete
Doug Holder to teach: Residencies at the Asylum: Poets at McLean Hospital / Newton Community Education / Starting Jan 12, 2010

To register for “…Poets at McLean Hospital” contact:

Newton Community Education http://newtoncommunityed.org

360 Lowell Ave
Newton, MA 02460-1831
(617) 559-6999

3 week session

McLean Hospital is known as a top shelf psychiatric hospital with Harvard faculty psychiatrists, groundbreaking research, etc… But it also has been a residency of sorts for poets such as Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, and Anne Sexton. Poet Doug Holder worked at McLean Hospital for 27 years and ran poetry groups for patients for over a decade. He has interviewed the social worker for Plath and Sexton as well as the manager of Anne Sexton’s rock band, he wrote an introduction to Lowell’s classic poem about the hospital “Waking In the Blue” for Robert Pinsky’s anthology “America’s Favorite Poems”, he was interviewed by Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam for material for his controversial book “Gracefully Insane” and has talked to many others who provided a trove of anecdotes about these renowned and tragic poets. In this course we will cover McLean Hospital as a muse for their poetry, and the experience of these poets in the “Asylum.”

Newton Community Education newtoncommunityed.org

360 Lowell Ave
Newton, MA 02460-1831
(617) 559-6999

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