“Writing poetry is contagious,” writes Rachel Naomi Remen in her introduction to Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making. If we find ourselves alone and longing for words to infect us, there are always books to turn to for inspiration. In addition to providing friendship, books also teach us. We learn new ways to work with the healing power of poetry through the stories of and reflections on loss and healing in a great variety of people and communities."

—John Fox

 

These books have been reviewed and recommended by IPM as books for poetry and healing that would otherwise be difficult for a nationwide audience to find or know about. The featured books are a very small sample of the important and valuable work that is out there for professional and personal use.

IPM thanks Carol Katz for contributing such fine work in writing many of these book reviews. Carol has taken considerable time to explore and find the healing elements within these books. Her reviews are not focused on critical evaluations. Rather she shares liberally from the books themselves. She welcomes you, the reader, to sense and feel how this book could be of use to you personally and professionally.

Thanks also to Judith Prest and Carol Donley for their reviews.  If you have a book you’d like to see us feature (again, remember, it is books that might otherwise be difficult to find) please recommend – and let us know if you would like to write a review.

I Carry My Mother

by Lesléa Newman

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A book-length cycle of poems that explores a daughter’s journey through her mother’s illness and death.

Review by Judith Prest, LCSW

 

Hummingbird Tattoo: Erotic Haiku

by Ellery Littleton
Homewood Publishing, 2010

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A celebration of sensuality, this book of haiku offers us passion with a light heart. It is a welcome reminder of the delights of connecting through our bodies.

Review by Carol Katz

 

The Long Hello - The Other Side of Alzheimer's

by Cathie Borrie

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Review by Carol Katz:

A shimmering jewel of a memoir.

 

Looking Into Your Voice - The Poetic and Eccentric Realities of Alzheimer's

by Cathie Borrie

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Review by Carol Katz

 

 

Hunger Speaks: A Memoir Told in Poetry

by Carolyn Jennings

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Jennings wrote poetry as she struggled to heal from an eating disorder. Her courage in sharing these poems provides a model for others in their own process of healing.

Review by Carol Katz

 

Perspectives: Hospice Poems

by Bob Jacob
Antrim House

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Very worthwhile for volunteers and staff working in hospice. For anyone who has a loved one in hospice or who died with hospice care, these poems will offer solace and insight.

Review by Carol Katz

 

When Sunflowers Speak: An Invitation to Contemplation

by Patrick W. Flanigan, M.D. and David McQueen

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An exploration of presence, beauty and mystery by a physician/ oncologist complemented by exquisite photography. What often goes missing in medical care is not lost on this doctor.

Review by Carol Katz

 

With Nothing Behind but Sky: A Journey through Grief

by Perie Longo
Artamo  Press

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Perie, a psychologist, poetry therapist, poet...writes here as a wife about the loss to cancer of her husband, Phil. Perie's vivid imagination, humor, grief and deep love make this book a gift.

Review by Carol Katz

 

Bursting with Danger and Music

by Jack Coulehan, M.D.                                                                                                                                                                                                    Plain View Press

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"Bursting with Danger and Music reveals Jack Coulehan’s characteristic sensitivity to contradictions, tensions, and creative energy."

Review by Carol Donley

 

 

Recommended Books

Writing and Healing

A Mindful Guide for Cancer Survivors

 by Pamela Post-Ferrante
with a Foreword by Gabrielle Rico, Writing the Natural Way

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"This book is about healing. The meditation, writing and sharing of these twelve sessions are held in the context of themes of healing, not themes of illness. The sessions encourage: taking care of oneself; learning to be more mindful, present and joyful; releasing negativity; and discovering freedom. Participants often find a new and stronger self in the midst of, and after, cancer." ~ Pamela Post-Ferrante, from the Introduction

 (Visit website for more.)

 

Grace Leads, I Follow

 by Lisa A. Bertsch                                                                                                  
 Cielo Pub

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Poetry is a natural place to loosen the hold of traumatic experience as it is an exploration of the senses, the very essence of embodiment. In poetry we can reconnect, reassemble, and give rise to a new self. For those in the heat of struggle, Grace Leads, I Follow summons a call to stillness, acceptance, and ultimately reenchantment. Lisa Bertsch's poems make it clear that when our lives are touched by chaos we can still be led to luminous places.

 

The Lost Pilgrimage

 by Joe Milosch                                                                                                  
 Poetic Matrix Press

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The poems of The Lost Pilgrimage (Poems) are by a man who notices what happens. How rare that kind of listening is. Whether writing about his father, the war in Vietnam, his wife, childhood, work, fishing, faith, illness, silence, or anything else, Joe Milosch hammers dross away and leaves nothing extra. What's left is a hard-won gift and blessing for the reader willing to open this book, enter these poems and join the journey.

 

Landscape of a Woman and a Hummingbird

 by Lisa A. Bertsch                                                                                                  
 Poetic Matrix Press

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"These merciless and irresistible poems fuse into a landscape of intimate close-ups, whether of buffalo bellowing their dominance in Yellowstone, the touch of the wife's hands covered with dough, or the gravestone of the poet's brother. For lovers of nature and of this harsh and amazing earthly life, this book is a feast of bracing, supple imagery that's the opposite of the anemic and academic. These poems live; they breathe; they show off the trophies of their scars."  —Oriana Ivy

 

Poems for the Time Capsule

 by David Watts                                                                                                  
 Wolf Ridge Press

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A charming and compelling collection of poems lovingly assembled by Watts after years of being knocked off his feet by what he encountered in the process of teaching poetry at The Fromm Institute of San Francisco.  He started to make a stack of keepers on his desk – Poems for the Time Capsule is that very stack!

Comments from John Fox

 

Cataclysm and Other Arrangements

by Karen Morris                                                                                                                 
Three Stones Press

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I am glad to share with you a collection of poems by Karen Morris, published by Three Stones Press. When I say "I am glad" it doesn't mean that I am happy. Actually, I am near to tears. Some of these poems reflect on shattered lives. Yet there is in these pages a redeeming witness to truth. Cataclysm does courageous work.

Comments from John Fox

 

The Longing in Between: A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology Sacred Poetry from Around the World

Edited with Commentary by Ivan M. Granger
Poetry Chaikhana

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Ivan M. Granger, creator and founder of Poetry Chaikhana.com, has lifted up to people around the world the great wealth of spiritual poetry available to us. Ivan draws from every religious/spiritual/ mystical/indigenous tradition. I hold Ivan in such high esteem for this work!

Comments from John Fox

 

The Well-Versed Parent

by Jane E. Hunter

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The book is a compilation of five finely written essays by Jane about the various stages in the lives of parent and child--from "Poems of Emergence" to "Poems of Independence." She has gathered from poets, known and unknown, poems for each of the five sections. Lovely line drawings open each section.

Comments from John Fox

 

Goodness To Go: A Handbook for Humanitarians

by Fran I. Hamilton, MD

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Goodness To Go-A Handbook for Humanitarians is your personal guide to inspire, clarify, mobilize, and sustain your compassion in action. Self-care is essential as you discover ways to contribute to your community and your world in enjoyable, sustainable ways.

 

Chronic Resilience: 10 Sanity-Saving Strategies for Women Coping with the Stress of Illness

by Danea Horn

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Danea Horn is the daughter of a very good friend John Foos, of Del Mar, CA. I met John 20 years ago during a book tour for Finding What You Didn't Lose and since that time he and his partner Rebecca Speer have coordinated my visits to the San Diego area. Over the years I would hear about John's remarkable daughter Danea — his admiration for her as her father and how she with great resilience overcame so many things.  Now with this work of Chronic Resilience, you can learn more too about the gifts Danea offers. .—John Fox

 

One Silken Thread: Poetry's Presence in Grief

by Lee D. Scheingold

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Lee Scheingold's rich, painful personal journey--following the death of her husband, famed political scientist Stuart Scheingold--is described from the points of view which have informed her life: psychoanalysis, clinical social work, Buddhist meditation, and family medicine.

Poetry is the connecting thread, beginning with the Russian poems she studied long ago in college, and then to a variety of contemporary American and English verse. This is an emotional and intellectual account of profound grief from a professional psychotherapist who has approached her recent life with continual introspection and self-reflection. She explores the experiences which enabled her to tolerate and even welcome the feelings of grief. She examines, with the issue of meaning at center stage, her psychoanalyses and a ten-year practice of Buddhism. In this journey, her reading of poetry links emotions to ideas. The deeply evocative style of the book resembles poetry itself.

 

Reviews & Recommended Books

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