poetry therapy

The Institute for Poetic Medicine: Publications and Other Media

These books by John Fox and our poetry partners help support the mission of The Institute for Poetic Medicine.  By shopping online at Amazon.com and using our links below, a portion of your book purchase will be shared with The Institute for Poetic Medicine. 

Poetic Medicine:
The Healing Art of Poem-Making

"Poetic Medicine is well done, well conceived, well held in the heart of the author. You are truly on to one of the healing rays emitted from the palm of the Beloved." –Stephen Levine

"Poetry is simply speaking the truth. Each of us has a truth as unique as our own fingerprints. Without knowing that truth, without speaking it aloud, we cannot know who we are and that we are already whole. In the most profound way, speaking our truth allows us to know that our life matters." –Rachel Naomi Remen from the preface to Poetic Medicine

"Poetic Medicine is invaluable for opening the heart." –James Fadiman, a member of the board for The Institute for Poetic Medicine and co-founder of Institute for Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA.

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Finding What You Didn't Lose

"Drawing from a splendidly various range of sources, John Fox guides you gently into the wide realms where the shape of words connects the feeling heart and the world." –Jane Hirshfield, author of Lives of the Heart and October Palace

"Finding What You Didn't Lose is simply breathtaking. Absolutely first rate. Anyone who loves poetry -- or would like to -- should read this book." –Andrew Carroll, Executive Director, American Poetry and Literacy Project

"A delightful invitation to the poet that lurks within each of us to come out and play." –Ram Dass

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Healing Words: Poetry & Medicine (DVD)

HEALING WORDS: POETRY & MEDICINE is a poignant and powerful documentary about the uses of poetry and the other expressive arts at a large teaching hospital in Florida. These days when Americans have grown cynical about health care costs, impersonal treatment, and the intrusion of corporate self-interest in the doctor-patient relationship, Healing Words reminds us of the power of empathy and listening to act as a catalyst for the healing power within each person. Poetry therapist John Fox and Dr. John Graham-Pole enter hospital rooms and help patients write poems as part of their healing process. Can poetry heal? this documentary gives a resounding Yes!

"This film is an hour-long look at the practice -- the very uncommon practice - of using poetry and art as part of an effort to re-humanize modern medical care. I thought about it for days afterward, weeks -- heck, I'm still thinking about it. I encourage anybody who is a doctor or a patient or anyone who may one day become a patient, to watch this extraordinary film."
Tom Lewis, M.D.
author A General Theory of Love

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Rumi, St. Francis and the Paths of Romantic Love

A Talk Given by James Fadiman, Ph.D. at The Redwood Institute, Valley Presbyterian Church, Portola Valley, CA (Available only as MP3 CD disc)

"With a storytellers flair, Jim Fadiman presents the concurrent and remarkable lives of Jalaluddin Rumi, Francis of Assisi and those poets and lovers known as the Troubadors.  Jim's keen insight and humor show the great shift in consciousness and significant changes in society and relationships that occured in both east and west in the late 12th and early 13th century -- and more importantly, how those messages of love and the lives of those revolutionary lovers, in all their variety, are, amazingly so, very relevent to us today."       John Fox

To order, please send $18.00 plus $2.50 for shipping by check or money order made out to: The Institute for Poetic Medicine, P. O. Box 60189 Palo Alto, CA  94306 or contact john@poeticmedicine.org.  Please note that this is playable on MP3 equipment. 

Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious:
The Healer, Dancing with the Healing Spirit

-Introduction by Andrew Weil and published by J. P. Tarcher/Putnam

John's essay "The Leaf Shape Remains" is included in "The Healer, Dancing With the Healing Spirit" volume two of this four volume collection.

Our world is filled with archetypal imagery, powerful symbols that reflect the deepest layers of our personality - our strengths, weaknesses, and unacknowledged gifts that lay hidden within our souls.  Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious Reflecting American Culture Through Literature and Art is an extraordinary series, with beautiful full-color illustrations and introductions by some of the most influential thinkers of our time, this series explorers the major archetypes of American culture as they are evidenced in literature and art.

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The Spirit of Writing
Classic and Contemporary Essays Celebrating the Writing Life

-Edited by Mark Waldman and published by The Putnam Publishing Group

John's essay "The Leaf Shape Remains" joins essays from famous writers such as Sylvia Plath, Tom Bradley, Erica Jong, Stephen King, Henry Miller and many more. This delightful and inspirational book is a must have for anyone who has that urge to write.

Editor and creativity expert Mark Waldman has gathered an impressive compilation of essays by world renowned authors reflecting on the numerous joys and frustrations of the writer's life and process.

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The Soul of Creativity: Insights into the Creative Process

- edited by Tona Pearce Myers, published by New World Publications

John's essay "Words from the Marrow" appears in this excellent anthology on creativity and the creative process. Also included are essays by Diane Ackerman, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Don Campbell, Riane Eisler, Christina Baldwin, Eric Maisell, Pat Allen, SARK and others.

John writes in the opening paragraph to Words from the Marrow: "The sudden writing of a poem by someone in grief, someone unsure of which path to take, or someone deeply afflicted by the suffering of another suggests that writing poems is, at essence, a spontaneous, creative action connected to the healing process." John's essay explores ways that you can tap into your creative voice.

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Teaching with Fire
Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Teach

- Edited by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner

John's essay related to the poem “These Days” by Charles Olson appears in this collection of eighty-eight poems from well loved poets.  This book includes a brief story of the significance of each poem to a well known teacher.

This book was written in partnership of Parker J. Palmer, author and founder of the “Courage to Teach” program and the Center for Teacher Formation and Tom Vander Ark, Executive Director, Education, of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

“Teaching with Fire”  is a glorious collection of the poetry that has restored the faith of teachers in the highest, most transcendent values of their work with children….Those who want us to believe that teaching is a technocratic and robotic skill devoid of art or joy or beauty need to read this powerful collection.  So, for that matter, do we all.  –Jonathan Kozol, author of Amazing Grace and Savage Inequalities.

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(Volumes 1, 2, & 3)
General Editor, Ilene Ava Serlin, Ph.D.,ADTR;
Published by Praeger/Greenwood 2007

In Whole Person Healthcare, John's chapter entitled Poetry Therapy: The Reclamation of Deep Language appears in Volume 3, The Arts & Health.  In Volume 2, Psychology, Spirituality & Health, there is a chapter he co-authored with Ilene Serlin and Kirwan Rockefeller entitled Multimodal Imagery and Healthcare.

Whole Person Healthcare is a glimpse into the future of healing.  It is a magnificent effort, bringing together authorities who have made landmark contributions in fashioning a form of healthcare that honors all we are - body, mind and spirit.  No other approach to healing deserves to be called scientific or humane." - Larry Dossey, M.D.



The Healing Environment Without and Within



- Edited by Deborah Kirklin and Ruth Richardson

This book provides a clear framework for understanding the healing environment - not only that in which health care takes place but also of the real contribution that the arts can make to the inner environment of feelings and perceptions of those on a path of physical or mental healing.

Here is a source of inspiration and information for all those who are part of the caring community - be they direct providers of care or those who create the environment in which care and healing takes place.

From architecture to art therapies and medical humanities, the book looks at how partnerships between patients, artists, clinicians, architects, community leaders and managers - all of whom are represented among the contributors - can significantly influence the development and practice of patient-centered care. It gives examples of good practice and opens up the exciting possibilities that such interdisciplinary partnerships can generate.

Click here to buy this book from London, England


Supportive Cancer Care: 

The Complete Guide for Patients and their Families

- Edited by Ernest H. Rosenbaum, MD & Isadora R. Rosenbaum, MA

Cancer Supportive Care is an essential resource for all those whose lives have been touched by a diagnosis of cancer.  Ernest H. Rosenbaum, M.D., and Isadora Rosenbaum, M.A., draw on their extensive knowledge and years of medical care to provide the most up-to-date information about the diagnosis and treatment of cancer but also the emotional and psychological needs of those coping with a cancer diagnosis.

This book is a resource dedicated to living, not dying; to helping cancer patients concentrate on enhancing and cherishing the quality of their lives despite, and sometimes because of, their brush with this frequently life-threatening illness.

Readers will probably find the numerous specific examples and practical recommendations useful. Each chapter offers at least one section entitled “What You Can Do” that offers invaluable practical suggestions for dealing with such problems as nausea, mucositis, and depression.

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Writing the Sacred:
A Psalm-Inspired Path to Appreciating and Writing Sacred Poetry

- Written by Ray McGinnis

Ray McGinnis offers us a new, deeper, and more meaningful way to explore and understand the Psalms. Vividly connecting us with the original psalm writers, McGinnis discusses the intent and meaning of the historical psalms, and then sets us on a path to creating our own sacred poetry.

Explaining the various literary devices used, and the intention behind the various types of psalms, McGinnis leads us through sensory and poetic exercises designed to transform the reader into an inspired modern day psalmist. Because the writing of devotional literature is common to many historic cultures, McGinnis has included a section containing new psalms and poems from contemporary poets and Jewish, Islamic, and Christian writers from Canada and other countries.

"Writing the Sacred is rich with insight, power and meaning.  Ray McGinnis gives us a great gift by showing the Psalms to be a living language, a poetic language vital for today.  These pages are permeated with our human story - our raw and beautiful longing for God.  This book will act as a healing balm and creative catalyst to help you reclaim your soul's voice."

--John Fox, CPT, author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-making

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