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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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The Kindergarten Teacher (2018) - A Film Review by A. Hurford

 written & directed: Sara Colangelo - based on a Screenplay by Nadav Lapid

Nadav Lapid, directed a 2014 original, Haganenet. A prizewinner at Cannes. I'd very much like to see that version now. I loved this. A film made with wonderful understanding, beautifully paced, shot, acted - a gem.

Middle aged kindergarten teacher, Mrs Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal), has a husband and two teenage children. She attends an adult education class on writing poetry. She seems good, practised, and caring at her job. Perhaps so good it's somewhat automatic, even when listening to care and not pushing children too far. She comes alive when playing with them, in a golden light.  In exploring poetry maybe she's reaching for something she needs. We see her write a poem as she goes to class.  But it's judged as dull. She feels snubbed. Though she doesn't work that through fully.  She may be more in tune with her class than this teacher his.

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Free Range Writing – 75 Forays for the Wild Writer’s Soul (Book Review)

Free Range Writing – 75 Forays for the Wild Writer’s Soul by Jenny Alexander

Book Review by Francesca Baker

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