Mental health in Mind

My last post about PoetryAsHealing was a let  ‘me tell you what it’s all about’ kind of post. As we’re nearing the end of the the year, I’m happy to tell with you that the first series of PoetryAsHealing sessions have been a huge success. Working with MIND feels like a natural fit as so many poems in my Songs of my Soul collection address our private struggles with the big issues in life such as love, loss, major change and relationships.

PoetryAsHealing with MIND

Leading a group of carers through a labyrinthine selection of poetry from a range of traditional and contemporary poets, was an honour and a delight. Together we discussed an eclectic mix of themes covering diverse aspects of human emotions. Our conversations were stimulating and life-affirming. Two members of the group wrote imaginative and moving pieces of poetry during the sessions.

PoetryAsHealing is a subtle form of healing, and the best thing about it is it’s not just for poetry lovers; it’s for everyone who thinks, breathes and feels.

‘Derek Walcott’

If you would like to sample a PoetryAsHealing workshop, please fill in the form below.

PoetryAsHealing

Ok. I’ve been really slow at blogging about my PoetryAsHealing project. Partly because I’ve been so busy doing it. I’m passionate about poetry and mental well-being so I inhabit a sort of heaven when delivering this programme.

Suzy Rigg, PoetryAsHealing

PoetryAsHealing provides carers or people with mental health challenges with a unique opportunity to discuss a delicious range of topics through the poetic form. We look at carefully selected poems on a vast array of topics including religion, politics, spirituality, culture and everything in between, in a safe and nurturing environment. Who says discussions about to politics and religion only end in arguments?  Pah! Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed arranged marriages, slavery, depression, love, sexuality and many more topics. We’ve discussed the  poets themselves, their poems and the circumstances in which they were written.

Together, in a safe space, we’ve shared incredible pieces of work by Sylvia Plath, Allen Gingsberg, Maya Angelou, George the Poet, Pascale Petit, Walt Whitman and many others. We’ve laughed, engaged in heated debates, shared some fantastic insights and opened up to learn more about ourselves and each other. We leave the sessions feeling optimistic and connected. It’s all part of the healing process.

Picture: Courtesy of Brainy Quote PoetryAsHealing.

Conversations between members of the group have been far-reaching and meaningful, with the aid of our poets’ voices.

It’s stimulating, intellectual, emotional and most of all it’s HEALING. How on earth can poetry *heal* you say? Well, using your voice to articulate thoughts and feelings is very powerful. Using a poet’s words, which are one-person removed, provides a perfect vehicle to enable us to speak to one another. It’s like travelling on a bus in a foreign country, where everyone else speaks a difference language, but somehow when you’re on the bus you can understand everything.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox PoetryAsHealing

Our ‘poetry bus’ provides a mix of contemporary and traditional poetry for us to ruminate over, discuss and relish. The poems are chosen for their power to move and provoke discussion, sometimes about issues that are too difficult to discuss in a ‘normal’ context.

Anyone can join the group; being a poet is not essential! You don’t need to know anything about poetry. People come in with an open mind and leave with new words in their heads. The poets’ words help to unlock inner words that  may have been locked away. Some people are inspired to write their own poems, others are content to listen and enjoy the discussion. The power of poetry to soothe, entice and encourage reflection on the world and on oneself is undeniable.

I’m honoured to share my love of poetry in this therapeutic way.

Dr. Maya Angelou, PoetryAsHealing

Hear my tribute poem to Maya Angelou here

If you would like to talk about a PoetryAsHealing session for your organisation, please contact me using the form.

 

 

I am NO longer invisible [REVIEW/VIDEO- Gal-dem, Weekend Guardian]

‘Sunday morning

hot coffee and granola

your pink cover jumps into my space,

no bubble gum pencil thin barbie here

by the Grace of our Lord,

hot black talent with attitude (TWA),

grins at me, a cover full of promise

revolution in my bedroom by 07:35

my private world of black womanhood in typescript

knowingness of other

everything laid bare

I AM no LONGER inVISIBLE!

replace coffee cup on table with extreme care

in case the words disappear when I look away.’

© Suzy Rowland

 

Summer 2018 [INSTApoem]

So far, 2018 is turning into a mega Summer for heat and the extreme impacts of the heat, it will become one of those years that become fuzzy and pretty in your head if you let it. Save this summer, in the memory bank marked ‘good times’.

The light and heat of the sun can be harsh and dangerous, but if we treat her with respect goddess sun is life-affirming, energy and vitamin providing, endorphin-generating. Even when you’re feeling hot and uncomfortable, close your eyes and say ‘thank you’ for the heat and well-being you feel in that moment.

Happy Sun Day!

© Suzy Rowland

Asperger’s [POEM]

Relentless pursuit of one goal

One, goal. Pure focus

‘what? we can’t cross the river here

let’s build a bridge or a tunnel

there must be a way!”

An unbending line

from here to my destination

details to be written, recorded

stored on plates, words, dates

please don’t distract me

with daily life

I’ve a job to do

stories to be consumed

by everyone I never knew

and you.

Burano, Italy

 I cannot stop, not no, cannot,

until the desire of my brain,

is sated, released of its many thoughts about

one thing, many things that are, the same thing

calmer then, until my eye

catches a new target:

‘Go, go go!’

there is no other way.

Continue reading “Asperger’s [POEM]”

The Wedding [Services]

For a poet – love, marriage and weddings are perhaps the most inspiring, romantic and universal subjects to write about. You can stay with the personal, but stray into the spiritual, global, life-affirming, existential. So it is with this in mind, that I thought I would set up a wedding poetry service. Selecting poems for lovers to read to each other, poems for renewals of vows, poems to convey the depth of feeling and passion that another human being can evoke in you.

Love knows no colour, or boundaries, or prejudices. It finds you when you least expect it, much to the annoyance of many of us when we’ve been single for ever and a day! And love loves food and nourishment like any living organism. Feed your love with kind words, encouragement, praise, laughter, tenderness and understanding and they will stay with you until the last pulse of your heart beats feebly in your veins.

A bride, a vintage gown and a pint of orange juice..

A wedding close to my heart:

https://www.summers-photography.co.uk/2016/09/28/church-richmond-littleton-park-house-shepperton-studios-wedding-suzy-clive/

Click here to find out more about the wedding poetry service…

Remembering Windrush 1948 [VIDEO]

If you like this poem and would like to buy an A5 copy as a momento, copies are on sale at the Black Cultural Archives shop OR click here to purchase online.

Windrush poem on sale at Black Cultural Archives

© Suzy Rowland-Rigg

 

 

SS EMPIRE WINDRUSH [Windrush Day poem]

Windrush 1948: Coming Home

 “London, is the place for me
London, this lovely city
You can go to France or America, 
India, Asia or Australia
But you must come back, to London city.”

(Calypso: Sung by Lord Kitchener)

A leap into the unknown,

hundreds of men, women, families

loyal subjects of the Queen of England

wait patiently for their boarding cards

passports to a new land, a new life –

sunny determination in their veins

spirit of slave rebellion dancing in their hearts

centuries of cutting cane without shade

pulls their backs tall,

enslavement courses their DNA

fires the desire for a better life:

 

Britain won the war

her Queen, stole Caribbean hearts.

 

 

Leaving the hot sun of home

waving goodbye to warm seas

bearing bruises of the Atlantic slave trade

borrowed names: Williams, Beckfords, Campbells,

from Trinidad, Jamaica, Bardados,

waiting on the gangplank of British warships

on request of the British government

many with a one way ticket to England

a one way ticket to cities with strange names,

 

Liverpool, Bristol, Manchester, a one-way ticket…

‘….tickets please’ ‘Tickets please!’

shouts the bus conductor

in a broad Bajan accent, with a broader smile,

he was ‘home’ a new land, a new life.

My grandfather, Wilfred N. Walker, came to England from Jamaica on the Reina Del Pacifico in 1955. My grandfather’s brother Lester, is the handsome man in the  black and white photograph, alongside his wife, Julia, who was known in the family as ‘Cookie’. The rest of his family, his wife Maud (my grandmother) and the children Colin, Aston, Valrie and my mother Dorcas, came to England on the Reina Del Mar, docking in Liverpool in 1956.

Whenever I read this poem, it always stimulates a reaction; I have seen people cry, and many of a certain age, like to join in with the song which I try to sing acappella, but sometimes emotion gets the better of me. At my last reading, at Hampton Hill Theatre, Noel Coward Suite, one woman approached me afterwards and said that she was there to see the ship arriving. A young 87, with bright green nail varnish and dyed red hair, she said that the signs outside of houses, saying ‘No Irish, no dogs, no blacks’, were not racist, but a symptom of the desperate housing situation in bombed post-war Britain.

I read this poem to remember my grandfather, who died in 2012, after receiving a telegram from the Queen for his 100th birthday. I read this poem to assert that I’m British, born and bred in Birmingham, and this is my home country, although I am often asked where am I from. I read this poem out of pride for the many positive contributions and efforts, my ancestors, and people like them have put energy into crafting, building, railway-ing, nursing, musician-ing, and generally seasoning this country to make it one of the most amazing, dynamic and forgiving places to live – in spite of the difficulties many of us still face. I see all of this as cause for celebration.

This poem is available to purchase as a commemorate A5 card, please click here to continue

© Suzy Rowland Rigg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Songs of My Soul Reviews

 “Thanks so much for making the journey over to the New Inn. I’m sorry you had to wait so long to get on, and perhaps felt because time was short you’d keep it to one poem. But I thought your performance of your Windrush poem had a tremendous impact, especially the song. Thank you very much for it.”  Greg Freeman Write Out Loud.

 “My father passed away 9 weeks ago so some of the songs were so relevant and helped me through my grief.” Annita B. teacher.

“I found this to be a really lovely read, both in content and in spirit, I particularly enjoyed ‘Tightrope’ Suzy is clearly a very talented writer,” Hay House Publishing

 “Suzy’s poems breathe spiritual eloquence but are bound to this earth: she helps us understand that love is our greatest quality and privilege. Her words celebrate the sweet melancholy in our choices to give ad accept love” Rob Dyson – Charity Comms & poetry fan.

 “Songs of My Soul is a warm and diverse collection, drawing on a range of poetic influences, from Angelou to Shakespeare. Full of feelings and reflections on love, passion and life, it’s also full of sharp observations of things we all know and share. Vivid and effecting. Impossible to read just once!’ C. Rowland

 “How wonderful your poems are, hidden meaning and depth beneath every one of them, they reflect the very essence of who you are!” R. Dignam

It’s very good, and my favourite is the Commute – transported me back to experiencing my commute! L. Turner

 “My favourite poems? I love all of them really, as they portray the multi-faceted profound humanity underneath, written by an extraordinary person, who is also my friend.”  Anon.

‘Had a super evening with talented poet Suzy Rigg’ Heather Moulson, Poetry Performance

Got it today!  Already read some of it.  The poems are powerful – you need quiet time to really digest them. Well done.  You definitely have a rare talent.  I’m proud of you.  Too often, all that’s available are the 2-line rhymes. Valrie Walker Sanders, USA.

I wish you all the best with your book. Deserves to be a sellout, Teri Scoble, Portrait Artist, Choreographer

 “When reading your poem Divorce some of its sea images reminded me of some lines in Thomas Hardy’s poem: The Convergence of the Twain…though your lines and poem ends of a note of hope. It really is a very beautiful poem, and I hope you will read it at one of our sessions.” Anne Warrington, Poetry Performance

 “From allusions to Red Riding Hood in ‘Footprints’ (p.6) to Rapunzel in ‘Things not forgotten’, these poems are often suffused with the primordial archetypes of fairy-tale; an eerie play of life and death.” Rowan Fortune, Editor

©”I give you words like I give you gold”. Suzy Rowland