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Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making Paperback – October 13, 1997


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The Next Happy: Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward
When the best option is to let go of the life you planned for yourself and find a new path, a world of possibilities can surprisingly open up.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (October 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874778824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874778823
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The many books about how to write poetry often fail because they stress structure and technique, contributing to the assumption that you can't teach anyone to be a poet. Fox takes a different approach. A certified poetry therapist, he uses poetry as a mode of healing. Fox works with children, seniors, people in life transition or suffering life-threatening illness, and others. Clearly, he succeeds. His work shows the aspiring poet how to give birth to poetry and how to cultivate and harvest its value to the writer's healing process. Despite Fox's emphasis on poetry as therapy, the student poems are full of fresh expressions and exciting images. Writing of her son, a woman says, "Adam holds the belly of his new plane,/ the light in his eyes a wingspan of possibility." Among the volume's many strengths are its frequent examples. Excellent exercises are included, as are a list of selected readings and a list of resources for learning more about poetry therapy. Highly recommended for public libraries as well as school and academic libraries where arts therapy is studied or practiced.?Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

John Fox, CPT, is a poet, certified poetry therapist, and a lecturer in the Graduate School of Psychology at John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California. He is the author of two volumes of poetry, My Hand Touches the Sea and When Jewels Sing (audio tape). John also teaches in the California Poets in the Schools Program. He serves as a vice president on the executive board of the National Association of Poetry Therapy and is a recipient of NAPT's Distinguished Service Award.

Customer Reviews

Even sadder, neither of us have believed we can write poetry.
Peggy Messerschmidt, College English Instructor
Expressing personal sorrow and love, poem-making to heal societal wounds, or celebrating earth and nature are all avenues one can explore within its pages.
Carol Alt
Very useful book with much wisdom and healing for the spiritual journey.
Kathleen Amoore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Messerschmidt, College English Instructor on April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a literature student, I stayed as far away from poetry as I could. It wasn't just that I preferred fiction Poetry made me feel "less than". I didn't get it, and all the terms were confusing.
Now, as an English teacher in a community college, I get a similar response from my own students, most of whom haven't read much poetry, find it difficult or overwhelming, and don't really see the point.
Even sadder, neither of us have believed we can write poetry. Instead, we have believed that poetry is something only a chosen few can do, something that requires mastering a certain form or stanzaic structure or tapping into the Muse at some deeper level of creativity than most of us are capable of.
It's too bad that only recently have we had John Fox's book Poetic Medicine to show us what poetry really is or can be, a means not only of discovery or creative expression, but also of deep emotional and spiritual healing.
As Rachel Naomi Remen points out in the Preface, "Poetry is simply speaking the truth...and one of the best kept secrets in this technologically oriented culture is that simply speaking the truth heals."
Fox helps us get at our truth and thus heal, via a range of exercises that explore such territory as personal relationships, loss, illness, our connection to the earth, love and pain between parent and child, and the use of traditional poetic tools to merge the spiritual and creative.
These exercises are hugged on either side by text which combines Fox's personal insights and experience, both as a poet and poetry therapist, with concrete examples from his own life and those of former workshop participants. Poems from friends and students, as well as pertinent quotes from other writers, complement and enrich Fox's words.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By "mim47" on February 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
I thought John Fox's book "Finding What You Didn't Lose..." was great, but this book is even better. It digs deeply into what it takes to be a writer while getting your humanity uplifted and healed! I have long held and taught that poetry is everywhere and can heal us. Now I am vindicated in my thinking and happy that John Fox is doing the work he does. I am so grateful to Fox for "being there" for established writers who need to be encouraged as well as for those who need to know they can write their way home!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Carol Alt on February 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
John Fox's POETIC MEDICINE: The Healing Art of Poem-Making is a user friendly book. You will find yourself circling phrases, underlining sentences, writing in the margins, completing the expertly crafted exercises and drifting in thought and reflection over poetry that touches your soul. The format also includes a wonderful collection of side bars with poetry and quotes by a wide variety of poets, writers and philosophers.
John's choice of chapter titles are in themselves poetic: "The Fragile Bond" -- expressing poems of pain and love between parent and child, "Landscapes of Relationships -- reflecting on intimacy, marriage and longing, "When God Sighs" -- making poems about loss, illness and death.
As an instructor of a poetry course for seniors, I used many of the exercises in POETIC MEDICINE. Participants who often came hesitantly to the class, were delighted when they discovered they were able to express themselves in poetic form. We also worked with some of the tools and basic elements of poetry which are nicely presented in the book.
POETIC MEDICINE is a book one could choose to use individually too. Expressing personal sorrow and love, poem-making to heal societal wounds, or celebrating earth and nature are all avenues one can explore within its pages.
Rachel Naomi Remen, MD says in the Preface, "Poetry is simply speaking truth", and John's unique book helps us to find truth and to create poems from the heart. It is good medicine for, as Dr. Remen says, "simply speaking truth heals."
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Nanci on November 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
A powerful, healing book that will place the balm of words on deep wounds. Also, a bright light in your day, a light of hope and pleasure. Anyone who loves words and poetry will be blessed by this book and John's wonderful spirit. If for no other reason, read it to introduce yourself to poets and poetry.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mary R. Bast on February 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Fox writes "Poetry provides guidance, revealing what you did not know you knew before you wrote or read the poem. This moment of surprising yourself with your own words of wisdom or of being surprised by the poems of others is at the heart of poetry as healer." This book has been an inspiration for me in writing my own poetry, and a wonderful guideline for workshops with people who are developing themselves as well as their poetic capability. This element of surprise in reading or writing poetry is always a moment of awakening, and can be especially powerful for people who are facing crisis -- loss of a job, divorce or lost love, illness and/or death.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
There are many exercises in the book to inspire your poetry and many inspirational quotes. I've read it twice and intend to read again, as each time I read it different exercises and examples appeal to me. There is an exercise where you write down all the words that appeal to you in poems, to remind you to use them in your own works.
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