Captivating poems and visual art seek to bring comfort and solidarity to anyone living with Bipolar Disorder.
In this remarkable debut, Shira Erlichman pens a love letter to Lithium, her medication for Bipolar Disorder. With inventiveness, compassion, and humor, she thrusts us into a world of unconventional praise. From an unexpected encounter with her grandmother's ghost, to a bubble bath with Bjӧrk, to her plumber's confession that he, too, has Bipolar, Erlichman buoyantly topples stigma against the mentally ill. These are necessary odes to self-acceptance, resilience, and the jagged path toward healing. With startling language, and accompanied by her bold drawings and collages, she gives us a sparkling, original view into what makes us human.
About the Author
Shira Erlichman is a writer, visual artist, and musician. A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed Reader, Nomadic Press, The Rumpus and PBS NewsHour's Poetry Series, among others. She earned her BA at Hampshire College and was awarded a residency by the Millay Colony, the James Merrill Fellowship by the Vermont Studio Center, and the Visions of Wellbeing Focus Fellowship at AIR Serenbe. Her first children's book Be/Hold is forthcoming from Penny Candy Books. She is half of the Odes for You Tour with poet Angel Nafis. As a musician she's performed across the US, sharing stages with TuNe-YaRdS, CocoRosie and Mirah. She's independently released seven albums, including Subtle Creature which premiered in BUST Magazine and was hailed as a "spectacular mystery." Born in Israel, raised in Massachusetts, she now lives in Brooklyn. Learn more at www.officialshira.com.
"Shira's poems transmit experience that nearly defies language, leaving the reader drenched with a new reading of the human: the effects of the mind's rupture, the enigma of the body's messages, the terror of one's own infinitely ingenious yet alien logic. The voice of these pages comments wryly on others' wary, frightened reactions that increase anguish in the name of helping. The poems trace encounters with mental illness that could not be encompassed by anything but Shira's honed and startling language and her visual accompaniment of images, each page burnished into a glittering object." --Annie G. Rogers, Ph.D., Author of A Shining Affliction, The Unsayable, and Incandescent Alphabets "Odes to Lithium is a remarkable book: it is beautiful, deeply perceptive, haunting, and original. It is wonderful." --Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind and Pulitzer Finalist, Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire "Oh, Radiance. Survival and Surviving Field. How rare, an Eye like this, so able to access its marrow language--original, honest, dear, strange. These poems document and enact processes of finding a language imaginative and struggling enough to carry one's life. Moving us through imagistic splay and shift, the line is Erlichman's measure: 'I know what the sea knows / with the bottom of its mind / unfathomed.' These poems, I think, are little 'sight'-engines--miraculous, fevered, whirring things. I'm astonished by breath and lasting at all. I 'pull a flower / from her skull / & weave it into mine.' I love her way, her mind." --Aracelis Girmay