Contains a mix of poems offering emotional and spiritual upliftment. This selection of traditional and contemporary poems are for people who have suffered, or are suffering from depression and mental illness.
The publication of this book coincides with the tenth anniversary of Survivors' Poetry, a nationwide charity founded in 1991 which aims to support, through creativity, all those who suffer from mental health problems. The collection takes the reader through the journey that is the lot of many mentally ill patients from initial signs of disturbance through the depths of despair to the final rock bottom of a mental breakdown and then gradually to restored health and a renewed trust in the future. The opening section of the collection, entitled 'Scenario for a Walk-on Part', shares the confusion felt by people in the early stages of disturbance with fine contributions including Peter Scupham with a marvellous poem entitled 'Unpicked' and the touching and much anthologised 'Childhood' by Frances Cornford. The next section, starkly called 'Why We Go Mad', shares some of the causes while 'Welcome to the Club' begins with Wendy Cope's succinct but painfully honest 'Depression'. 'Aftermath and Redemption', including Elizabeth Jennings's 'Into the Hour', a poem of huge understanding, leads into the final section of the book, entitled 'Survival Strategies', which shares poems about survival techniques and positive thinking for the future. As well as the classic selections from the likes of Blake, Shakespeare and Milton, there are important 20th-century voices like Thomas Hardy, W B Yeats, Stevie Smith and Sylvia Plath. Poems were also specially commissioned for the book from poets currently writing such as U A Fanthorpe, Roger McGough, Sujata Bhatt and Andrew Motion. There are also contributions by the members of Survivors' Poetry. Peter Forbes was Editor of Poetry Review from 1986 to 2002 and he also compiled the very comprehensive and well-reviewed Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the Twentieth Century in Poetry (1999). This is not a depressing collection, rather it is affirming and ultimately encouraging. As D H Lawrence has it in the 1918 collection that gives this book its title, 'Look, we have come through!' (Kirkus UK)