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Lapidus News

Words, wellness and writing!

The Blue Dragonfly by Veronica Eley - Book Review

The Blue Dragonfly by Veronica Eley

Hidden Brook Press 2021

ISBN : 9781738095902

 

 

“inside out
outside in
the feelings have become
statues in the garden
monuments to a crime”

The Blue Dragonfly is a courageous collection of poetry charting the deep psychological waters of living with childhood trauma. Veronica Eley’s raw, direct voice challenges.

Emerging from the psychiatrist’s padded office; from sanctioned gangster hallways of a mental hospital and from daily disorderly documenting of family life, the poet’s words unravel tortured experience - obliquely exact and savagely beautiful. It’s a wild ride which may require a trigger warning. If you’re new to the idea that writing can be therapeutic, this collection will convince you of the power of storytelling to explore, excavate, catalogue and contain the patchwork nature of human life. In Foreward, editor Roger Langen, who is also Eley’s husband, explains how the layout of the book reflects the stages of healing trauma: “injury and illness in 1 Secret Monsters; intervention (experienced like a miracle) in 2 The Bodhisattva; forgiveness and transcendence in 3 Mother.” (p.xv)

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Guest — Elizabeth
Great review of Veronica’s poetry. I tried to put a 5 star recommendation however…the site cut me out at one star! And I could n... Read More
Sunday, 03 December 2023 02:59
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Using poetry to promote talking and healing by Pooky Knightsmith - Book Review

Knightsmith, Pooky (2016). Using poetry to promote talking and healing. Jessica Kingsley Publishers: London and Philadelphia.

Despite the relative seriousness indicated by this book’s title, its cover hints at a sense of experimentation – even fun. This is all the more surprising, and some might say refreshing, once you read in Dr Knightsmith’s acknowledgements that this book was written at a time of “complete mental breakdown”, when she was in “the deepest depths of anorexia and suicidality”; for me, such an open disclosure in a published work by an author of esteem is hugely powerful in helping dispel some myths about mental ill health.

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Wunderkammer by Helen Ivory - Book Review

Wunderkammer by Helen Ivory

Mad Hat Press 2023

ISBN: 978-1-952335-57-0

This remarkable collection documents the poetic development of Helen Ivory’s work from 2002 to 2019, with the addition of a selection of poems from How to Construct a Witch awaiting publication by Bloodaxe in 2024.

Why “Wunderkammer”? As a writer, I can attest that titles are significant and potent. Therefore, before diving into this collection, I undertook a little research. The Wunderkammer (literally translated as a room of wonder) has a long history stretching at least as far back as the 1600s, being a “a place where a collection of curiosities and rarities is exhibited”.  Contemporary artists like Louise Bourgeoise and Damien Hirst have a predilection for this kind of phenomena, with the curious and the weird. Nowadays we might call the wunderkammer a “Cabinet of Curiosities”, one we might peer into, to be both fascinated and repelled in turn, one where mystery, magic and the natural world collide.

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Sherbet Lemons - A Book Review by Elizabeth Dunford

Like those fizzy yellow treats, Tee Francis’ poems are often bittersweet - and sparkle with wit.

She explores the personal and the political: poems about cotton buds, left-over Christmas trees and insomnia jostle with a cleverly rhyming Ode to Jeremy Hunt and a satirical monologue in the voice of a Brexit-voting ex-pat who – surprise, surprise - prefers to live in Spain. There are tenderly erotic love lyrics (Hymn for Him, Communion, Silent Treatment) and poems which celebrate the beauty of the Dorset countryside where she lives (On Walking to Fleet Church). There are some very funny poems which were written for Spoken Word performance but, even on the page, made this reader laugh out loud (Slots, Forbidden Pleasures).

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Heal Yourself With Journaling Power By Mari L McCarthy - A Book Review by Tony Page

Heal Yourself With Journaling Power By Mari L McCarthy (140pp, 12 chapters)

Mari McCarthy was a business consultant in the USA until a bombshell 18 years ago when she was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). Following the loss of function and feeling in the right side of her body, she soon faced up to the harsh fact that prescription drugs and the conventional medical approach weren’t working. She set out on a journey to take control of her own health and began a practice of journaling, difficult for her because she had to learn to write with her left hand. Quite remarkably journaling enabled her to ditch the drugs and expand her life in many new directions including singing, walking, meditating and writing.

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Guest — Mari
Hello Tony, Thank you for your awesome review. I’d like to invite you to do a guest blog post for our Journaling Journeys blog. h... Read More
Saturday, 22 June 2019 11:49
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Love & Loss: Creative Therapeutic Writing on Relationships - a book review by Elizabeth Dunford

Love & Loss: creative therapeutic writing on relationships

Monica Suswin

Cabin Press

In this short book, Monica Suswin explores the universal experience of love and loss – and how creative therapeutic writing can help us make sense of it.

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101 Stories for Enhancing Happiness and Well-Being - A Book Review by Rob Henley

101 Stores for Enhancing Happiness and Well-Being

Using Metaphors in Positive Psychology and Therapy

George W. Burns   Routledge   2017

http://www.georgeburns.com.au/

This book is full of thoughtful, inspirational, and useful ideas. Storytelling lies at its heart, the power of story-making, story-hearing, story-recreating. Burns’ work  stands at a crossroads of Positive Psychology, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, and story-metaphor therapy.

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Reflective Writing in Counselling and Psychotherapy - A Book Review by Elizabeth Dunford

Reflective Writing in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Jeannie Wright

Sage Publishing 2018

Although the title implies this book is designed for counsellors and psychotherapists, I believe it is potentially helpful for many others. Facilitators of writing for wellbeing and personal development will find it a rich source of stimulating ideas and exercises. Individuals seeking to improve self-awareness – whether as part of reflective practice in a work setting, or simply to grow as a human being – can use this book as a practical guide.

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Bibliotherapy - A book review by Francesca Baker

Bibliotherapy edited by Sarah McNicol, Liz Brewster

Facet Publishing

In recent years bibliotherapy has hit, if not the mainstream, at least a library or health service near you with programmes such as the Books On Prescription scheme, where self help and advice books are prescribed to support people with certain illnesses or ailments. It’s good recognition of something that people have known for many years –advice, inspiration, education and solace can be found through reading.

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Little Book of Writing Prompts - A Book Review by Tony Page

Title: The Little Book of Writing Prompts

Authors: Frances Ainslie and Barbara Bloomfield

Publisher: Lapidus International (www.lapidus.co.uk)

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Book Review: Poetry and Dementia, by John Killick

Book Review: Poetry and Dementia, by John Killick, published by Jessica Kingsley, 2018,

ISBN 9781785921766, £16.99


I was fortunate to hear John Killick’s address at the Breathing Space conference held at Snowdonia in November 2017. He began by talking about the fashion in contemporary poetry for obscure meaning and identified a trend towards more accessible, more natural writing, arguing that there is greater value in what has clarity of meaning. He allied himself with Peter Elbow’s approach to language and the application of speech to writing, as described in Peter’s book, Vernacular Eloquence.  Indeed, he refers to Elbow’s work in his postscript in Poetry and Dementia, published by Jessica Kingsley, 2018, when he discusses the quality of the language of people with dementia, describing it as ‘the Poetry of Natural Speech’. 

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Victoria Field
Thanks for this review Clare - John really is inspirational. Vicky
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 15:08
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