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8 Reasons Why Poetry Is Good for the Soul

What is this knowledge but the sky-stolen fire. For which the thief still chained in ice doth sit,. And needs would kiss, but burnt his lips with it. Which when Jove's guest embraced, he monsters got? Or the false pails which oft being filled with pain,. Which the youth sought, and sought his death withal? Or the boy's wings, which when he did approach. The sun's hot beams, did melt and let him fall?


  1. The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Mind, Heart and Soul by William Sieghart?
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And yet, alas, when all our lamps are burned,. When we have all the learned volumes turned,. Which yield men's wits both help and ornament,. The diverse forms of things, how can we learn,. That have been ever from our birthday blind? When reason's lamp, which like the sun in sky,. Throughout man's little world her beams did spread,.

How can we hope that through the eye and ear. Can recollect these beams of knowledge clear,. Which were infused in the first minds by grace? So might the heir whose father hath in play. The wits that dived most deep and soared most high,. Seeking man's powers, have found his weakness such;. Skill comes so slow and life so fast doth fly,. Said, He knew nought but that he nought did know;. And the great mocking master mocked not then,. For which the devil mocks our curious brain,.

When boldly she concludes of that and this;. Nor how, nor whence, nor where, nor what she is? All things without, which round about we see,. And the strange cause of th'ebbs and floods of Nile;. But of that clock within our breasts we bear,. We that acquaint ourselves with every zone,. And pass both tropics and behold the poles,. When we come home, are to ourselves unknown,. We leech-craft learn, but others cure with it;. We interpret laws, which other men have made,. But read not those which in our hearts are writ.

Through which it gathers knowledge by degrees Whose rays reflect not, but spread outwardly Not seeing itself when other things it sees? No, doubtless, for the mind can backward cast. And saw herself transformed, she wist not how,. At first she startles, then she stands amazed,. At last with terror she from thence doth fly,. And loathes the wat'ry glass wherein she gazed,. And shuns it still, though she for thirst do die.

Even so man's soul, which did God's image bear,. And was at first fair, good, and spotless pure,. Since with her sins her beauties blotted were,. Doth of all sights her own sight least endure. Such strange chimeras and such monsters there,. As she retires and shrinks for shame and fear. That hath a sluttish house haunted with sprites,. Turns from herself and in strange things delights. For this, few know themselves; for merchants broke. View their estate with discontent and pain,. And while the face of outward things we find. These things transport and carry out the mind,. And threat the feebler sense with sword and fire,.

Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 3. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Poetry Pharmacy , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Jun 04, Jo A follower of wizards rated it liked it Shelves: poetry.

The Poetry Pharmacy is exactly what it states in the title. This short read contains poems from a range of authors, all dealing with different subjects, such as bereavement, obsessive love, self image and self acceptance and various others. Some of these poems I enjoyed and appreciated more than others. Here is one of my favourites; "Although the wind. Although the wind blows terribly here, the moonlight also leaks between the roof planks of this ruined house.

I like the variety of au The Poetry Pharmacy is exactly what it states in the title. I like the variety of authors that are included in here. You have Rumi, but then you have Maya Angelou. I happen to love Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal woman" and this poem is in the section of "Insecurity" This poem is grand for any woman that is insecure about themselves, especially their appearance, and it tells us that you don't have to live up to or be societies expectation.

You are an individual, and you are a phenomenal woman, no matter what size dress you take, or no matter what you choose to wear. While I liked this book, I thought that the author could have included a few poems for each section, as I do think for me, it was certainly lacking something. I think this is a good book to start with if you are fairly new to poetry, or, it could make a rather good present for an individual needing some thoughtful words.

Sep 27, Rebecca rated it liked it Shelves: bibliotherapy , requested-from-publisher , poetry , reviewed-for-blog. Under five broad headings, this short book covers everything from Anxiety and Convalescence to Heartbreak and Regret. Sieghart has chosen a great variety of poems in terms of time period and register. So populist is the approach that Sieghart warns Keats is the hardest of all. I also thought there should have been a strict one poem per poet rule; several get two or even three entries. If put in the right hands, though, this book will be an ideal introduction to the breadth of poetry out there.

Poetry is a perfect way to look slantwise at truth to paraphrase Emily Dickinson and change your perceptions about life. Does it help? Apr 13, Michael rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry. Sieghart explains in his introduction how the idea of his Poetry Pharmacy arose and developed, following with a useful short note on "how to read poetry".

He then introduces each poem under a heading for the "conditi 4. He then introduces each poem under a heading for the "conditions" for which he would describe them, and how a particular reading might shed light upon the causes of, or alleviate the feelings of, distress. Naturally, there is a subjective view to such things, and I didn't always feel a particular poem was apposite, or that it would necessarily be helpful or therapeutic, but that's shaped by my own feeling-world and frame of reference.

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On balance, I think Sieghart hit the mark much more often than he missed. I'm not sure how seriously Sieghart takes his idea of prescribing "pills" of poetry as if they would have a defined, consistent, and predictable effect upon different individuals. I'd assume that's not his position and I'd disagree with him if it is , however, in a social setting that adheres to the Western medical-model of health and well-being, his pharmacy concept may be a gateway through which people can engage with poetry, and hopefully find a reflective space in which they can better understand themselves and the wellsprings of their distress.

Jan 18, Dane Cobain rated it really liked it. This was a cute little collection, although it did also start to feel a little repetitive after a while. In it, Sieghart basically takes a bunch of different circumstances in which someone might need a poem and then he makes a diagnosis and writes out a prescription in the form of a famous poem. Jun 01, Mark rated it it was amazing.

Apr 16, Ophelia rated it really liked it. I just love the idea of this - sounds like the perfect job, to sit and listen to people tell you how they're feeling, and then read them a poem that makes them feel less alone in that feeling. Whilst I didn't necessarily love all the poems in this collection question: is two bullet pointed sentences really a poem? It also includes some of my favou I just love the idea of this - sounds like the perfect job, to sit and listen to people tell you how they're feeling, and then read them a poem that makes them feel less alone in that feeling.

It also includes some of my favourites, plus many I hadn't heard of and now plan to read again.

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Giving it a 3. Oct 05, Sue rated it really liked it Shelves: , poetry. I don't know a great deal about poetry and often feel that I 'don't get it'. This book is ideal for me! William Seighart has compiled a selection of poems for all sorts of emotional states and occasions. On the left-hand page are his thoughts about the piece and why someone might find it suitable for a particular time in their life.

On the right-hand page is the poem itself. I recognised some of the poems but many were new to me. In I don't know a great deal about poetry and often feel that I 'don't get it'. In his comments Mr Seighart talks of midnight worries when "the blank space of the darkness provides a theatre for the most intense and unlikely of worries, putting your sense of powerlessness, of your own vulnerability and of the vulnerabilities of your loved ones into even sharper perspective.

The night-time is when there is nothing to be done except brood. When despair grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.

8 Reasons Why Poetry Is Good for the Soul | Writer's Digest

I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting for their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. The poem tells us in short and sweet terms: 1. Don't see him. Don't phone or write a letter. The easy way: get to know him better. I enjoyed reading it through but of course the real value of this book is to have it to hand on days when one of these poems, together with the accompanying thoughts and notes, is just the very thing you need to deal with that particular life challenge.

View 2 comments. Jan 26, Seren rated it it was amazing. And any book that includes my favourite Mary Oliver poem is an automatic winner from. Nov 27, Deborah Allin rated it it was amazing. I seriously want to find William Sieghart and give him a hug. This book is beyond any self help book in any genre really. It comprises a poem in conjunction with a piece of writing from Sieghart containing prescriptions for most all of our human malaises. I have found such relief in poetry during my journey through loss, pain, sadness, betrayal and depression. But this collection is truly special and loaded with sage wisdom from someone you just know has been there too and used his experience to I seriously want to find William Sieghart and give him a hug.

But this collection is truly special and loaded with sage wisdom from someone you just know has been there too and used his experience to find truth. Jan 29, Maisie Prudames rated it it was amazing Shelves: reads , read-it-and-weep. Feb 24, Jasmin rated it really liked it. This is such a great anthology of poems, a book I will definitely keep referring back to when I need some reassurance or comfort in other people's words. Most of the poems in this are great. The premise of this book, however, is both bizarre and disturbing.

On the one hand there is a certain reverence for art, which has modernist well, Romantic roots.


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  • On the other there is this instrumentalisation of poetry as therapy. I'm not even sure it's a proper bibliotherapy thing. It's just bizarre -- dependent on some very queer readings of poems -- and the assumption that poems can be 'prescribed' like pills is even more disturbing he has curated them Most of the poems in this are great. It's just bizarre -- dependent on some very queer readings of poems -- and the assumption that poems can be 'prescribed' like pills is even more disturbing he has curated them and apparently some pills are better pills than others, and these pills work universally for all people, nevermind your individual reaction to a poem?

    What irks me the most, perhaps, is what one might consider a minor detail, but something that I think is telling re his view on poetry. This man has categorised the poems not by poem name so, assuming you liked one, you can't find it by title but by the ailment said poem is supposed to treat. This person does not love poetry, in my opinion.

    Then again, he set up a charity for gifted kids. Some are more equal than others, welcome Doctor, and your relation of power. Enough said. Jun 30, Ophelinha rated it liked it. Food for the soul, medicine for the broken heart. Rediscovering poetry one line at the time. A comforting addition to any bookshelf. May 16, Lauren Hancock rated it it was amazing. Braden gave me this for Mother's Day and I love it!

    The concept is fun, the analyses are brief and thoughtful, and the poems themselves are gems. Jan 10, Laura What's Hot? Find the full review on What's Hot. This post is a little different to most book reviews on here. Confession time. I spent day Find the full review on What's Hot. I spent days looking at it on my bedside table wondering how a book that had received so many great reviews, that had sounded so perfect for me, could be such a disappointment. I read. And suddenly, I feel less alone. My heart is warmed. Perhaps poetry really is the greatest medicine after all.

    Keep this on your bookshelf as you would keep paracetamol in your bathroom cupboard. Do yourself a favour and purchase this now — future you will thank me when the time is right. Nov 17, Jessica Shelley rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , To find the right poem at that crucial moment, one capable of expressing our situation with considerably more elegance than we could muster ourselves, is to discover a powerful sense of complicity, and that precious realization: I'm not the only one who feels like this.

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    In the years since he first had the idea of prescribing short, powerful poems for all manner of spiritual ailments, William Sieghart has taken his Poetry Pharmacy around the length and breadth of Britain, into the pages of the Guardian, onto BBC Radio 4 and onto the television, honing his prescriptions all the time.

    From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king. We might fall. Come to the edge. It's too high! And they came And he pushed And they flew. It goes among things that change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see.

    Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old.

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    Thoughts Out of the blue, I received this beautiful book as a gift from Mr Harris. And the manager at Waterstones recommended it too. This was serious business. My relationship was on the line. Thankfully both of them could sigh in relief. Because, this book, really was everything I could have hoped for. The Poetry Pharmacy really is a perfect title.

    It was exactly what I needed to read right now! Recently my anxiety had gotten the best of me. Now, I feel armoured for those days. Under each theme were multiple poems and descriptions for different types of emotions such as anxiety, lack of courage, insecurity, social overload and false expectations in love.

    What I loved about this, was its variety. For every feeling you could conjure, there was a poem for it. In the back of the book, there is a whole index full of all the kinds of emotions you can encounter within your lifetime and it matches the poems you would most likely be suitable to read to help you.