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Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Poetry and Therapy -- met a librarian in Helsinki who writes and publishes poetry. Met her in Helsinki, but she lives down the road in Staines -- Ali G country.

Also she runs a poetry group / website -- they got some Arts Council money to record their "critical reading" sessions, transcribe them and put them on the web. Must have seemed a good idea at the time. I quote from her email:
" ... here is the stuff on the Web about our workshop. http://www.carpenter.btinternet.co.uk/ When you get to the graphic site map, click on "critical practice" if you want some text that shows in general how we work, but for examples of how we work click on any of the "clock" icons, most of which (exceptions are 5, 7 and 11 o'clock) represent a workshop on the work of one of the group members. ..."

Anyway I sent her my long Briar Rose epic to see if I could join her group -- meets monthly. I happened to also mentioned that I wrote 'for therapy' (meaning intrinsic value, whatever that is, not for whether or not I could get published). I got a long screed back from her advising me never to admit that to anybody.

Actual quote: "best not to tell anyone to whom you are showing your poems other than your therapist (or perhaps your significant other) that the poems are purely therapeutic. It is very predjudicial. I will try to put that claim out of my mind when I do read it. As for the workshop, there are also the questions of whether or not you want critical attention paid to the work, because what happens in the workshops is definately not group therapy -- even though some of the poems read are of the therapeutic sort -- and whether or not you want to give critical attention to the poems of others."

I thought all that was rubbish. Another poetry site/group I sometimes pay attention to is Lapidus, for people who want to use poetry in education and health. Joined them when I thought I'd learn something about antidepressants and alternatives to drugs (which are what -- maybe -- keeps Briar Rose in the briars). Running along the back issues (I don't get the 'front issues' by post, owing to my frequent moves over the last 2.5 yrs) -- what should I see but this guy Brian I know from Torriano Poets and 'Word for Word' the Crouch End writing group. Not that I get on with him, either. Anyway he gave a talk to a Lapidus meeting -- on Poetry and Therapy, beginning with an Orwell quote: "All writing is therapy". So Orwell and I understand each other.

Well, thank God for Blogs -- I can talk to myself and commit it to posterity. I'm not used to this yet -- I'm still in the mindset that I'm sending an email to a group, hoping for an interesting and interested response. Now I'll have to respond to myself, I suppose. Harder and harder as I push 60. I have been doing a Stage Manager's course at the local amateur theatre. Talking about scenery, somebody said "I've got a problem so I won't be able to get it up until the middle of next week". I kept my sympathey silent. Most of my 'fellow' students are quite young (yes, yes the world is now quite young) women, so I didn't want to contaminate their thoughts with my innuendoes. As for aging, I have a friend who interrupted somebodys' argument -- which was starting off "Most people ... " to say "Most people are dead".

Good time to close. Signing off 1830 Tuesday 16.04.2002 --- I suppose Blogger does that for me. I should close like Bridgit (sp?) Jones with my daily stats: 12 pages of EC proposal writing, couple of forms, 51 emails deleted (17 unread; junk), 24 sent -- had a nice pub lunch -- weather fantastic. Now I'll walk to Ealing for the SM (not S&M) course.

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