I am doubtful of the claim that poetry can heal or be therapeutic in health settings. Poetry offers something other than a medicalised way of speaking or a creative talking therapy. It brings together competing aspects of our nature and often our experiences. It can restore words to memory, it can mine the unthought known as well as being a place of unknowing, it can bring together the solitary soul and community. I am contemplating poetry as reconciliation and restoration. It is a helpful way of thinking of the work I do as a poet in mental health services as I am concerned about the increasing move towards poetry as therapy and therapeutic practice – not just a way of reducing art to clinical routines but just one more way of denying the value of the poet?
Poetry as reconciliation?