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Survivors Poetry aim to publish and promote poetry by survivors; supporting and developing survivor poets and establishing communication networks; making connections between creativity and mental health. This blog contains notes from contributors to the survivors network.

Anthony Hurford on Seamus Heaney's second collection Door into the Dark

29 November 2013

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cover of Seamus Heaney's Door into the Dark, with an illustration of an anvil

When I first started Door into the Dark I thought maybe Heaney had been deliberately trying to break the spell of Death of a Naturalist.  I didn’t know what to make of the first two poems. I struggled to keep up, took some time to tune in, but have now learnt what those poems are about – Mossbawn (the farm on which Heaney lived during his early childhood), and about closeness to a horse and a stable. Door into the Dark bursts with wonderful, living, poems, but maybe lacks the...

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Poetician Wendy Young and the 51st State of the D Hell of A! (And the Tax Office)

26 November 2013

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Hand rail

Got a nice complicated breakdown from those nice people at the tax office who wrote to tell me I owe them £157.60 as I had two employers a couple of years ago. Well, I wouldn't want the country to fall down because of my debt so I enquired how so I owe this amount?  Apparently I claimed some benefit (60 odd pound a week) when I couldn't work and couldn't get sick pay as I hadn't worked long enough. So added to my stress of a major op, being very ill, I...

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Wendy Young has stuff to get off her chest and the gun in her back held by Santa Clause

26 November 2013

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Bad Elf

I did draw a picture of Santa holding a gun in my back in the supermarket at Christmas time a few years ago when I was going through a particularly bad time and overwhelmed by shelves of monotony that were supposed to make X time better.  I remember crying in the aisle, feeling lost, feeling like my mother, thinking 'I don't know what to buy... I don't know what to do... I hate Xmas... I hate the pressure of what I'm supposed to do at this time of...

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Dave Russell introduces Poetry Express Newsletter

18 November 2013

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

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...

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