Friday, February 28, 2020

Poets on Prozac

This book gripped me: Poets on Prozac, edited by Richard M. Berlin, a set of essays by various poets on Mental Illness, Treatment and the Creative Process. I checked it out of the library because it's what came up when I searched for work by Denise Duhamel, who judged the 2019 Patricia Dobler Award. She's a poet I have admired for many years when I encountered her work in journals, and now I have also acquired some of her recent books of poetry, all as "homework" for when I get to meet her in April at a reading, as this year I actually won the contest! I have entered in previous years and also recommended this contest to other eligible writers--women over forty who have not yet published a full-length book of poems. Chapbooks are OK. If you qualify, consider this another recommendation!

I learned a lot about many things and was delighted to find in this book two of our Escape Into Life poets, Ren Powell and Martha Silano, as well as Chase Twichell, whose book The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach, co-edited with Robin Behn, sits on a shelf above my computer, ready to grab when I need a creative push. I used it when I was teaching, and I use it now.

I always love to read about a poet's process, and Poets on Prozac*, has the added interest of how mental illness, whether temporary or permanent, chronic or intermittent, and the treatment or medication for it affects the writing. Excerpts and whole poems are provided in this context, and the authors include mental health professionals who write poems.

*Not everyone was on Prozac, but it was so interesting to see the lists of what people had tried, looking for the right dosage, combination, relief from pain and anxiety. It was hard to put this book down, so I read it with intense concentration, and now, as in Andy and the Lion,  by James Daugherty, it will have to go back to the library!


Bathwater said...

I feel like everyone is on Prozac, so a poet on it doesn't seem that unusual.

Carol Berg said...

Thanks for this post. Just ordered Poets on Prozac from my library. Looking forward to reading!

Andrea Charles said...

Hello Kathleen!! All the recommended books seem to be worth reading. Though I am not a patron of poems, I would like to give it a try as the subject is related to mental health. It is a topic I am very much connected to personally. Thanks for the other recommendations as well, Kathleen.

VasanthMusicCoimbatore said...

Thanks for introducing me to three good books. I must first read the book On Prozac-mental illness treatment. The author had done a great job in compiling the essay of various poets on mental health. Many people who were stressed and mentally depressed visit the Music institute in Coimbatore.