Grant Aspinall wrote this little Book of Poems
and it contains 12 poems.
I heard that survivors of mental health issues can only write a scream – and yet look at all the writers whom we will still read, who had mental health issues, like Kit Smart, John Clare, Robert Lowell, Allen Ginsberg, James Schuyler – and some would contend even William Blake had issues that today would classed as in the mental health area.
I also heard that poetry is not therapy – yet it has been proven that writing can be a physiological kick that heals you. With this debate going on in my mind, I decided, one day down at the Mind Drop In, in Millom, to collate some of the poems of the people who visit the Safe Space Project.
The poems I put in myself were but seven year old poems and my being not mentally well, I even managed to mess that up, omitting the best one in which “a clock is only as fast as a cheetah;” but that said I was there to collate the work of other people, not put myself first, and found that there were some gems, written by talents overlooked, people who did not get a look in when history got its haircut.
In my opinion, poets with mental health issues could even be said to have the capacity for a lucidity beyond the normal frame of mind. Ordering the book was hard but I decided to start with Mary who provided the title of the book, Mind Over Matter, once I had put it to her that a book was going to be made.
I was satisfied that we had done something, between us, when we achieved the publication of that book, and I don't look back on things like the spelling errors, or the grammatical mistakes, with regret. In our time, they say, after the blacks, the women, the homosexuals, it is the mentally ill whose rights come into play, people with a nosological status of mind, and now I read the volume of verse with a liberal attitude, recognising to vocalise the mentally ill is to help destigmatise illness, and who would deny that this is a good cause?
For all, mental illness happens to one in four people statistically, and we are now only in our infancy of learning about the brain, for our doctors know very little about it, it being 99% blood, 1% statistics, and through books like Mind Over Matter, where the poetry of the mentally unwell is put together, we can try and overcome some of the obstacles to understanding that exist in one of the most prevailing issue of our day.
So we see through words, problems can come unstuck, hearts can fall in love, dreams can be pitched to others, seas can be sailed inbetween lost, far away continents of grief in the heart, and now our look at the map of the mind is forever changed.
John F B Tucker,
poet and songwriter, (Music page)
Blog found at: https://johnfbtuckersblog.blogspot.com