Lost Poetry: Psychiatry and Creativity

This article by Karin Jervert has been published by Mad in America. It begins:

“As a poet, I think the most valuable thing we can lose in this life is a poem. A poem that comes from our deepest, most authentic self. As a person with lived experience of mental distress and involuntary psychiatric treatment, I know the most powerful of these poems can live and be lost in what some people call ‘madness’.

There are times in which a poem comes to a poet and it’s light and slippery enough that it is easily lost in the bustle of life. Losing this kind of poem is not so much a tragedy. But the poems I’m speaking of are the ones not so easily lost, the ones connected to who we are. When these are lost, a piece of the poet themselves is lost, too. This is the kind of poem that can be destroyed when psychiatry treats a poet, an artist, a musician, without reverence and honor for their creativity and their diversity of mind.

I want to take a moment to honor the artwork, the songs, the paintings and the poems of the mad artists that are lost—deep in a wilderness of psychiatry’s careless disregard for the truth every poet knows—that a poem can be like a bone in one’s body, a part of a person that can sustain their life, make meaning and bring joy and healing.

I lost a poem once, and I mourned it for many years. But, one day my grief became a map, and with it I found my way back to the ghost of it and I brought it back …”

You can read more from here.

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