Poetry RX: How 50 Inspiring Poems Can Heal and Bring Joy to Your Life

Product Details
$19.95  $18.55
G&D Media
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 0.9 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, the author of the New York Times bestseller Transcendence, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and attended the University of the Witwatersrand. He conducted research at the National Institute of Mental Health for over twenty years, where he led the team that described Seasonal Affective Disorder. He was awarded the prestigious Anna Monika Foundation Research prize for his contribution to research in treating depression and has been listed as one of the best doctors in America and one of the country's top psychiatrists. Besides his New York Times bestseller, he is the author or coauthor of over 200 professional articles and several popular books, including Winter Blues, The Emotional Revolution, St. John's Wort, and How to Beat Jet Lag. He is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School.

A motivational book shows how poetry can be a balm for the soul.

Sometimes even doctors must look to art for consolation. Psychiatrist Rosenthal has observed the ways poems have helped his patients through times of difficulty, giving voice to certain feelings while offering a way forward. "The idea of this book is that poetry can not only inspire and delight, but can actually help you feel better, soothe your pain, and heal psychological wounds," writes the author in his introduction. "In short, as the book's title suggests, poetry can act as a kind of medicine." Rosenthal has collected 50 short poems that he finds therapeutic, covering a wide range of situations and emotions. Each chapter includes a poem as well as a brief essay on the question that the piece addresses. Chapter 1, for example, features Elizabeth Bishop's famous poem "One Art" ("The art of losing isn't hard to master") followed by a discussion of loss from a psychological and biological perspective. Rosenthal includes a list of takeaways ("Accept the loss"; "Beware all-or-none thinking") as well as biographical information about Bishop and a note about the poem's villanelle structure. The poetry includes English language classics by the likes of Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, W.B. Yeats, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Derek Walcott as well as a few translations from Rumi, Antonio Machado, Salvatore Quasimodo, Anna Akhmatova, and Constantine Cavafy. Rosenthal's breakdowns of the poems are clear and therapeutic, as here, where he discusses Steve Smith's "Not Waving But Drowning," about a man who drowned without anyone realizing he needed help: "We seek explanations to reassure ourselves that the dead are somehow different from us; we look for some reason to blame them. They did something wrong, which luckily we are clever enough to avoid." The poets skew White and male, perhaps in part because the pieces are all quite old. The only living poets included in the book are Wendell Berry and Gillian Clarke (both currently octogenarians). That said, the selected poems are excellent and highly accessible, and Rosenthal uses them as a platform for readers' self-investigations.

An insightful work that finds therapy in poetry. - KIRKUS REVIEWS



Our 8 Favorite Books in 2021 for Healthy Living

This year's Well Book List includes advice on how to change behavior, lower anxiety, cope with hardship and heal with poetry.

Welcome to the Well Book List! To make this list, a book needed to appear on Well during 2021. While we've cited a number of books in Well stories this year, we've narrowed our list down to eight of our favorites, covering a variety of topics including behavior change, parenting, anxiety and poetry. Browse the list, pick a few to give to others and don't forget to give yourself the gift of healthy reading this holiday season. Enjoy! POETRY RX:
How 50 Inspiring Poems Can Heal and Bring Joy to Your Life
By Dr. Norman Rosenthal

Dr. Rosenthal is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine and is best known for pioneering the use of light therapy for seasonal affective disorder. He also believes that in a year of crisis and unrest, poetry can be a great source of comfort and healing. "Poetry opens up spaces in the mind in which other things can enter, whether it's about just seeing good in the world or finding someone who understands," he told me this year. "I prescribe medicines when needed. I prescribe therapy, empathy, exercise and meditation and light in winter. I prescribe a lot of things. And yes, I prescribe poetry as well."