With over 600 submissions, poets from around the world put their pens to paper to create this anthology, enthused by a common goal to raise money for the charity, Mind. With poems focusing on mental health from a wide range of experiences, this book aims to continue the worldwide conversation about mental health.
The profits from this book go to UK Charity, Mind.
Trigger warnings by chapter:
Section One: References include war, depression, grief, alcoholism, bulimia, trauma, suicide
Section Two: Sexual abuse, self harm, suicide threat, Borderline personality disorder, electro shock therapy, razors
Section Three: Postpartum depression, hospital ward
Section Four: Anxiety, pills, Borderline personality disorder, eating disorder
Section Five: Poverty
Section Six: Alzheimer’s
Section Seven: Depression
Section Eight: Therapy
Imagine going down a dark tunnel - that's what this book felt like to me, and editor Isabelle Kenyon even alludes to it at the beginning. My journey through this brilliant darkness, cocooning me with words that made me shiver, made me want to run as fast as I can down past the nothingness, the whispered heartaches and brokenness, and past the despair I hear in the poet's voices. It's all around me, these cries for help, these numbing observations and afterthoughts, and casual yet harsh realities of living with a mental illness.
I had to stop several times in my read to look at the contrasting brightness in the daylight. But I know this journey through these words has an ending. There is hope, and light found in tunnels.
Although, I also realize that its not ever that simple. One can run as far away as they can and darkness, death and depression will still cling onto them.
Some will never find light.
Some will never know hope.
And that's probably among one of the reasons that a book such as this exists. So that others can know that they are not alone. So that the person reading this book can better understand someone else living with a mental illness or disorder.
This is a collection filled with multiple individual's first hand accounts, their own thoughts; an ownership of their truths in its ugly, sinister, unwashed lives.
These are real people who understand darkness and passageways to tunnels without light.
These are real images; snapshots of memories or a thought that captures the numbness, the rage, and their illnesses.
The imagery was heavy.
This collection is heavy.
Still I pressed on, determined to finish, and to read the poet's message hidden between the lines.
The collection is broken down into 8 different sections and the reader is invited to name each part. As a whole, it's absolutely painfully breathtaking. Dark and gritty in the beginning, and something akin to hope by the end.
As Kenyon states the hope is that you find light at the end of the tunnel.
But I found much more than that.
I found that in the darkness, there is bravery to continue, to press on. And towards the end, there is victory to getting up each day. Victory no matter how small. No matter how weathered we look, there is victory that we have endured....or are enduring. So as I carefully set out on this passage way, I listened to the hushed voices and read each line...I truly could hear each person's story and chief among them, a plea to the reader to 'please hear what I'm not saying.'
My Rating: 5/5
About the Author
Isabelle Kenyon is a Guildford based poet and a graduate in Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance from the University of York. She is inspired by the people and events around her - she observes and writes what she sees and what she feels.
She is the author of poetry anthology, This is not a Spectacle and micro chapbook, The Trees Whispered, published by Origami Poetry Press. She is also the editor of MIND Poetry Anthology 'Please Hear What I'm Not Saying'.
Her poems have been published in many poetry anthologies and included in literary festivals, such as Anti Heroin Chic, Literary Yard, Bewildering Stories, The Inkyneedles anthology, the Great British Write Off, the Wirral festival of Music, Speech and Drama, Poetry Rivals, and the Festival of Firsts.
Isabelle has been awarded third place in the Langwith Scott Award for Art and Drama and runner up in the Visit Newark Poetry Competition.
You can read more about Isabelle and see her work at www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk
Book Club Pick:
I use Goodread's rating scale
1 star – didn’t like it
2 stars – it was OK
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was so amazing, it's on my reread pile!