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Survivors Poetry aim to publish and promote poetry by survivors; supporting and developing survivor poets and establishing communication networks; making connections between creativity and mental health. This blog contains notes from contributors to the survivors network.

Simon Jenner: Descended from a Line of Legs

26 October 2015

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A vintage toy camper van

In discussing how to kick-start the Survivors’ Poetry blog, this poem about my father's tin leg and how, as a child, I used it as a garage for my toy cars was recently recalled in some email communications. A survivors’ poet remembered my reading of it some years ago at the Poetry Cafe.  Descended from a Line of Legs Clank; his leg shows its metal down the pungent antiseptic corridor whose double once wheeled his flesh one to the fire. Now he spawns comedy; these are...

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Wendy Young and Valensigns

13 February 2014

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sign for love

I wanted to share a poem for Valentine's day with a bit of sign: Valensign Cross my arms Over my chest To say I love you In the US I prefer Sign UK Touch my heart In the English way Portugese Point my middle finger To my heart and point to you To say amo-te French J’taime I give you my heart German Ich leibe dich My crossed hands flutter from my heart...

Comments: 7

Wendy Young's Salome having a bad day!

11 February 2014

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Cameron Clegg

Roses are dead Violence is cool Bring me the head Of the Party that rules! And just to prove this: I was shouting at the radio this morning as they announced the Stuart Rose ex M&S head of whatever is to be brought in to advise NHS managers!!!  I could tell them - sling your hooks/go/sod off/too many chiefs etc!!  Why are they treating the NHS like a private enterprise?  Just what we need, run the NHS like a business!  Though I heard this on Radio 4 I must also stop...

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Wendy Young just wants to say Where have all the flowers gone? With Pete Seeger..

28 January 2014

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photo of Pete Seeger smiling at the camera, wearing a blue baseball hat

Just to mark the passing of a great man, singer of protest songs and all round good person, Pete Seeger with his great song -simple, touching and true..... Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing? Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago? Where have all the flowers gone? Young girls have picked them everyone. Oh, when will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn? Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing? Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?...

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Wendy Young is angry about The Rookes evil abuse of Craig Kinsella

7 January 2014

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Proud father watches son beat defenceless

Rooke by name, Rooks by nature The Rookes Took: a vulnerable man's dignity spirit he slept in a garage ate from the  bins made a scavenger by you who really are scavengers your fists and feet beat this man defenceless and needy like fierce creatures who peck and tear and devour their prey long may you pay David Rooke admitted false imprisonment and a number of counts of causing actual bodily harm. Jamie Rooke admitted affray and a number of counts of causing actual bodily harm....

Comments: 2

Anthony Hurford on Seamus Heaney's third collection Wintering Out

18 December 2013

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front cover of Wintering Out by Seamus Heaney

I read this book differently, I put it down eighty percent through, completing weeks later. I’m grateful it soaked in slow. But I left my writing late, had to refresh myself before drafting this. Mr. Heaney, as ever, deserves consideration, this collection is so fresh. It is in two parts although I focus on part one, as it has a more obvious theme: it takes us back to a world, I hesitate to say Heaneyland as it's not an exclusive world but inclusive. It takes us back slowly to a...

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Wendy Young found 'Break' in Suffolk and Norfolk

13 December 2013

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Break logo

Just want to share www.break-charity.org in the East of England - I discovered it because of my addiction to charity shops.  Charity Shops Sometimes they make me sad  as they are a link to the past -  seeing a nice tea set or dressing table,  glassware that must have been treasured for years  when people didn't have very much  now in a far corner of a far corner of England, town, street...  and certain clothes, ornaments I saw on my Aunty Kath's...

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The Taxman Cometh for Wendy Young

6 December 2013

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hatchet

Hoping that I don't hold the country to ransom, guess I'll have to pay the tax on the benefit I received for just under 3 months in 2010.  It's too complicated to work out, all I know is I'm tired and weary and that's probably how they get you.

Mad (T)axeman

The Taxman Cometh

And I runneth

(not really - don't lock me up)

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Anthony Hurford on Seamus Heaney's second collection Door into the Dark

29 November 2013

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cover of Seamus Heaney's Door into the Dark, with an illustration of an anvil

When I first started Door into the Dark I thought maybe Heaney had been deliberately trying to break the spell of Death of a Naturalist.  I didn’t know what to make of the first two poems. I struggled to keep up, took some time to tune in, but have now learnt what those poems are about – Mossbawn (the farm on which Heaney lived during his early childhood), and about closeness to a horse and a stable. Door into the Dark bursts with wonderful, living, poems, but maybe lacks the...

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Poetician Wendy Young and the 51st State of the D Hell of A! (And the Tax Office)

26 November 2013

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Hand rail

Got a nice complicated breakdown from those nice people at the tax office who wrote to tell me I owe them £157.60 as I had two employers a couple of years ago. Well, I wouldn't want the country to fall down because of my debt so I enquired how so I owe this amount?  Apparently I claimed some benefit (60 odd pound a week) when I couldn't work and couldn't get sick pay as I hadn't worked long enough. So added to my stress of a major op, being very ill, I...

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Wendy Young has stuff to get off her chest and the gun in her back held by Santa Clause

26 November 2013

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Bad Elf

I did draw a picture of Santa holding a gun in my back in the supermarket at Christmas time a few years ago when I was going through a particularly bad time and overwhelmed by shelves of monotony that were supposed to make X time better.  I remember crying in the aisle, feeling lost, feeling like my mother, thinking 'I don't know what to buy... I don't know what to do... I hate Xmas... I hate the pressure of what I'm supposed to do at this time of...

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Dave Russell introduces Poetry Express Newsletter

18 November 2013

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Ink drawing of a knitted yellow boat sailing across a blue sea by Colin Hambrook

I’m editor of Poetry Express, Survivors Poetry’s monthly newsletter featuring readers’ personal stories of how they came to write poetry and how writing has been helpful to them in coping with Mental Distress. The poetry contributions are often related to these personal stories, and even when not explicitly related they speak most powerfully of the contributors’ experiences. Contributions cover a broad spectrum, ranging from participants in Survivors’ Poetry...

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Wendy Young eulogises her home town....RIP My Home Town...more blood and bricks are laid down

17 October 2013

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picture of collapsing building

I shouldn't go back there - even in the online pages of the local chronicle.  I know I'll be getting airiated about some new story and find that bit by bit by blow by blow how the soul has been ripped out and replaced with....nothing. Whoopee only this number of murders compared with the next town... only these amounts of muggings in comparison.  And now, the Market that has always been an empty, souless monstrosity but better than homogenised shopping for automatons...

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Simon Jenner reports on the sensational Outside In poetry event at Pallant House last weekend

16 October 2013

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Ink drawing of a knitted yellow boat sailing across a blue sea by Colin Hambrook

Colin Hambrook's double launch on Saturday 12th October at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester was - it's too easy to use such vocabulary -  the most inspiring Survivor event since the 21st Birthday bash last year. Partly it was the event itself, curated by Pallant's Deputy Director Marc Steene who spearheads the Outside In series of galleries and Outsider-led art initiatives currently on exhibition at The Public in West Bromwich and Project Ability in Glasgow. Mostly it...

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Anthony Hurford offers the first of a series of blogs responding to Seamus Heaney’s poetry

9 October 2013

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Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) was an Irish poet, dramatist and critic. He died at the end of last August which has brought forth many reminiscences in the media about him and admiration for his poetry. He was born in Northern Ireland and his early childhood on a farm called Mossbawn is a vital element to his poetry. He lived through The Troubles and was clear on his stance as an Irish Catholic. Heaney was well recognised in his lifetime. There is a list of awards and prizes he received on his...

Comments: 2

Wendy Young wants to help Kensal Rise Library and finds some interesting history about Mark Twain and Nikolai Tesla

4 October 2013

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Mark Twain in Nikola Tesla’s lab

Tesla being the unsung 'father of electricity' and Mark Twain being a good human being they did meet and a picture is attached of MT in NT's lab!......I'm sure I don't have explain what a catastrophe losing local libraries is, unless you are for the Tesco type hyperlibrary we are being offered.  Kensal Rise was opened by MARK TWAIN and I was inspired to write this poem in honour of him and the libary which served me well as a haven and sancutary when I needed...

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Wendy Young has started this about 10 times...how do I say LISTEN

5 September 2013

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Terracotta Army

..because no matter how many times I have tried, I end up with mud on my face, threats, dismayed, disheartened, lost, alone.  All because I keep my trap shut and when I open it, the truth comes out.  So what else can I do but express myself in a poem..but is it myself, am I expressing someone else?  Am I just asking for trouble?  It's serious but I can't help a flippant title! Gruffalo Soldier You Nephew No higher Than a Terracotta warrior And...

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Anthony Hurford posts a poem concerning the difficulties of embodiment

4 September 2013

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ink and crayon drawing of adam and eve and the tree of knowledge in a garden peopled by partial faces

I had an idea to write something about incarnation and gathered some phrases, but didn’t think I really had something, especially as it’s a big thing others have definitely done – but then I thought I’d give my partial view a go and this is how its taken its own form. Incarnation Born, this is the meat of it, the meta too for some. This feast of flesh. Which way does it go, control, flesh to spirit, or spirit flesh. A balance must be struck, you say. Yet the dreams of...

Comments: 7

Wendy Young isn't feeling groovy...family issues make her gloomy...speaking out kicks you out but.....

29 August 2013

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Male Flamenco Singer

'to be silent is to die' - so sayeth a wise flamenco singer in Seville (BBC4 Sunday 9pm) but parents, siblings and extended have killed my duende.  I learned some flamenco and seeing this programme just fired me up, however, 'MY KNEES, WON'T LET ME'.  However, performing poetry does give me a sense of being 'alive' and if only my family were communicative......in the right way. My father should have been a flamenco singer His shouts echo in...

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Wendy Young and Dave Russell and John Cooper Clarke and high brow bollox

20 August 2013

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John Cooper Clarke Laughing

"Do you feel some poetry events appear highbrow and intellectual and pretentious....don't be put off!" were my mentor Dave Russell's wise words that went through my head after doing an open mic where my stuff didn't seem to fit in... even the whoops and applause I got for Celebacy seemed insignificant for my second round... I think I'm threatened by the 'show, don't tell' mob. Then I got home and John Cooper Clarke was speaking to me through the...

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Wendy Young woke to a ring of pink hue and was taken aback, on discovering mornings were great

30 July 2013

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Masada Sunrise

Sigh, July, Why? You see a pink circle of light Surrounding the City Reminding you when you felt whole at last Raking a cotton field in the Haifa Valley Feeling part of it all Surrounded by the hills And watching the sun rise like a giant pink grapefruit Spreading and colouring the earth At last waking up - it only took 20 years! Good to be alive until the humidity hits And you sink into a drenched sweaty office Praying the cool morning will stay - like you did back then - trying to...

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Dave Russell introduces an eloquent poem by Wilma Robertson on the prejudices faced by people with ME

30 July 2013

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drawing of a bald head with lots of rooms pictured inside the skull

This is is the fullest expression of the problems of ME I have encountered in poetic form. Though it is a widespread phenomenon, it is played down by the medical profession. It is often dismissed by the general public as hypochondria, as an excuse to avoid activity and responsibility. In the poem, Wilma emphasises the point that many people with ME are dedicated, hard-working souls who shirk nothing. 'Thoughts' gives articulation to the marginalised and silenced Thoughts Sometimes we...

Comments: 1

Wendy Young was blown away by Time Attendant and Sarah Angliss at the Horse Hospital on Friday...

22 July 2013

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Sarah Angliss plays Theramin

Oh what a night Friday 20th July 2013!  I was blown away by Time Attendant who seems to have a link to my solar plexus...I bought his EP on the night and 2nd track 1st side (Wisteria Albion) made me cry, it's music to die to.  Sarah Angliss is a robotic and music electronica personifica!  In the cosy atmosphere of the Horse Hospital I felt at home watching her play a multitude of instruments (including a saw), operate robots and do a sweet version of Popcorn by Hot Butter...

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Anthony Hurford shares his experience of Survivors' Poetry

21 July 2013

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watercolour depicting a yellow rod and a green serpent

I’ve always loved poetry, but have been woefully bad at knowing that, not to mention getting to know it. In fact part of my survivor journey has been about realising I love it and how important it is to me. Mad eh? Some people around me dismissed it and my liking for it, and most of the people that didn’t seemed quite clear that it might be beyond me – not everyone - but then it gets complicated, my lack of connection to it may be part of how I came to be a Survivor. Anyway, I...

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Wendy Young is thinking of her mother's dignity, the dignity of nature and wants to share a poem about her late Mother, Jenny, inspired by a robin singing in the darkness against all odds...

16 July 2013

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Empty Nest

...who fought and fought but in the end was let down..I wish I could have her back to tell her how amazing she was. A Bird in the Dark As I walked home from familiar Hospital grounds, sounds of thrilling song, stopped me in my tracks Echoing all around Holding me in awe was A little bird so vulnerable But clever to hide And strong enough to drown Hospital trolleys Striking stone floors And the shouts of a teenager so into himself Hidden in a tree Singing above it all Little bird you reminded...

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