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Healing Through Creative Writing

July 9th, 2014

By Jessica Gada, MA, LGPC, JCADA's Teen and Young Adult Clinician

Local poet and educator, Sarah Antine, returns to JCADA this summer to share her talent and passion through poetry workshops for JCADA clients and staff. The workshops —which provide a safe space for introspection, personal expression, and community connection— were very popular in the past and we are happy to have her back. She utilizes a variety of exercises designed for individuals of all abilities and experience levels in order to provide a healing outlet for attendees.

Why Poetry… 

Sarah initially became interested in bringing her poetry workshop to JCADA years ago because she had firsthand experience with the healing powers of writing and the emotional release it provides. When I recently spoke with her about poetry and the act of writing, she explained, 

“Writing is cathartic because it gives me a voice that enables me to define myself rather than following another’s definition of me. Writing poetry is satisfying because it can release emotions by using metaphor and symbolism to make communication visceral. It is a joy to create, so it helps dispel negative emotions.” 

In the workshops, participants explore a selection of works, engage in group discussion, practice the art of crafting metaphors and writing poems, and try out creative revision techniques to enhance their personal styles of expression.

Further Reading… 

If this has piqued your interest, and you’d like to delve into some poetry or do some writing of your own, Sarah recommends the following inspired works that focus on topics of catharsis and healing: 

 “Louise Gluck's book, Wild Iris, uses the persona poem. In it, she speaks in the voices of garden plants and flowers to describe human feelings metaphorically. She suffered from anorexia, and poems helped her in her recovery. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States in 2003.”

Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson is about a teenage boy who is really a mythological monster from Greek tradition, Geryon. In the narrative of the story, Geryon is sexually abused by his brother and falls in love with Herakles, a lover who mistreats him. By giving Geryon a voice, Anne Carson's verse novel provides a kind of reflective healing.“ 

“‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree,’ by William Butler Yeats creates an internal landscape that describes a way to be free by imagining it even while ‘I stand on the roadways/ or on the pavements grey.’”

Sarah Antine is the poet-in-residence at the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy of Greater Washington, where she integrates poetry in to the English and Judaic Studies curricula.

Posted by JCADA | Topic: Clinical

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