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Dave Russell introduces Poetry Express Newsletter / 18 November 2013

Ink drawing of a knitted yellow boat sailing across a blue sea by Colin Hambrook

The cover illustration for Knitting Time by Colin Hambrookas featured in Poetry Express 43

Zoom in to this image and read text description

I’m editor of Poetry Express, Survivors Poetry’s monthly newsletter featuring readers’ personal stories of how they came to write poetry and how writing has been helpful to them in coping with Mental Distress.

The poetry contributions are often related to these personal stories, and even when not explicitly related they speak most powerfully of the contributors’ experiences.

Contributions cover a broad spectrum, ranging from participants in Survivors’ Poetry Workshops to survivors worldwide. We would like to develop a cosmopolitan perspective. To retain some feeling of informality, we have a ‘Graffiti Board’ for random, spontaneous views.

Our other features are book and music CD reviews (Survivors also has a ‘Vimeo’ site) and articles of general interest concerning Mental Health issues. Each issue now also has a ‘featured artist’ – this section demonstrates how severe Mental Distress can generate the finest art.

The publication started in the late 1990s as Survivors’ Poetry Newsletter, and was then in printed form, quarterly. It became Poetry Express in July 2000 – the winning suggestion in our competition for readers to rename the newsletter – and was initially both printed and published online.

Subsequent funding problems forced it to become exclusively an online publication. It is hoped that the printed version will be revived in the future.