Poetry RX: How 50 Inspiring Poems Can Heal and Bring Joy to Your Life (Paperback)
"I used to believe that poetry did not "speak" to me, but I now see how wrong I was. I lived for 44 years with a husband, a lyricist, whose beautifully crafted, heartfelt lyrics touched my every fiber and continue to uplift and inspire me a decade after his death. The special beauty of Dr. Rosenthal's book for me is his discussion of what each poem is saying, what the poet was likely feeling and often how the poems helped him personally, as when he left his birth family in South Africa for a rewarding career in the United States." - Jane Brody, Author & New York Times Columnist Poetry to Heal, Inspire and Enjoy Poetry Rx presents 50 great poems as seen through the eyes of a renowned psychiatrist and New York Times bestseller. In this book, you will find insights into love, sorrow, ecstasy and everything in between: Love in the moment or for a lifetime; love that is fulfilling or addictive; when to break up and how to survive when someone breaks up with you. Separate sections deal with responses to the natural world, and the varieties of human experience (such as hope, reconciliation, leaving home, faith, self-actualization, trauma, anger, and the thrill of discovery). Other sections involve finding your way in the world and the search for meaning, as well as the final stages of life. In describing this multitude of human experiences, using vignettes from his work and life, Rosenthal serves as a comforting guide to these poetic works of genius. Through his writing, the workings of the mind, as depicted by these gifted writers speak to us as intimately as our closest friends. Rosenthal also delves into the science of mind and brain. Who would have thought, for example, that listening to poetry can cause people to have goosebumps by activating the reward centers of the brain? Yet research shows that to be true. And who were these fascinating poets? In a short biosketch that accompanies each poem, Rosenthal draws connections between the poets and their poems that help us understand the enigmatic minds that gave birth to these masterworks. Altogether, a fulfilling and intriguing must-read for anyone interested in poetry, the mind, self-help and genius. CONTENTS Introduction PART ONE
Loving and Losing Chapter One
Is There an Art to Losing?
One Art by Elizabeth Bishop Chapter Two
Can Love Transform You?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways by Elizabeth Barrett Browning Chapter Three
The Heart versus the Mind
Pity me not because the light of dayby Edna St. Vincent Millay Chapter Four
Love in the Moment
Lullaby by W. H. Auden Chapter Five
When Love Fades
Failing and Flyingby Jack Gilbert Chapter Six
Getting Over a Breakup I: Acceptance
Why so pale and wan fond lover?by Sir John Suckling Chapter Seven
Getting Over a Breakup II: Reclaiming Yourself
Love after Love by Derek Walcott, Chapter Eight
Declaring Your Love
Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? by William Shakespeare Chapter Nine
Consoled by Love
Sonnet 29: When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes by William Shakespeare Chapter Ten
In Praise of the Marriage of True Minds
Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds by William Shakespeare Chapter Eleven
Loss of a Loved One
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone (Funeral Blues) by W. H. Auden Chapter Twelve
Will I Ever Feel Better?
Time Does Not Bring Relief by Edna St. Vincent Millay Chapter Thirteen
When You Are Old by William Butler Yeats Chapter Fourteen
Love after Death
Remember by Christina Rossetti, PART TWO
That Inward Eye Chapter Fifteen
Transcendence in Nature
Daffodils by William Wordsworth Chapter Sixteen
The Memory of Daffodils
Miracle on St. David's Day by Gillian Clarke Chapter Seventeen
Transcendence in Body and Mind
Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey (excerpt) by William Wordsworth Chapter Eighteen
The Power of Dark and Light
There's a certain Slant of light by Emily Dickinson Chapter Nineteen
In Praise of Diversity
Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins Chapter Twenty
A Plea to Save the Natural World
Inversnaid by Gerard Manley Hopkins Chapter Twenty-One
The Importance of Being Needed
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost Chapter Twenty-Two
The Choices We Make
The Road Not Takenby Robert Frost Chapter Twenty-Three
The Force of Longing
Sea Feverby John Masefield Chapter Twenty-Four
Finding Hope in Nature
The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy PART THREE
The Human Experience Chapter Twenty-Five The Power of Hope
"Hope" is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson Chapter Twenty-Six
Welcoming Your Emotions
The Guest House by Jalaluddin Rumi Translated by Coleman Barks Chapter Twenty-Seven
The Healing Power of Reconciliation
Out beyond Ideas by Jalaluddin Rumi (Translated by Coleman Barks) Chapter Twenty-Eight
Traveler, there is no road by Antonio Machado Translated by Mary G. Berg and Dennis Maloney Chapter Twenty-Nine
And Those You Leave Behind
Letter to My Mother by Salvatore Quasimodo Translated by Jack Bevan Chapter Thirty
The Importance of Self-Actualization
On His Blindness by John Milton Chapter Thirty-One
The Power of Faith
Psalm 23A Psalm of David Chapter Thirty-Two
The Thrill of Discovery
On First Looking into Chapman's Homer by John Keats Chapter Thirty-Three
The Enduring Thrill of the Moment
High Flight by John Gillespie Magee Jr Chapter Thirty-Four
The Long Reach of Trauma
The Sentence by Anna Akhmatova Translated by Judith Hemschemeyer Chapter Thirty-Five
The Danger of Anger
A Poison Tree by William Blake PART FOUR
A Design for Living and the Search for Meaning Chapter Thirty-Six
Principles for a Good Life
Polonius' Advice to Laertesby William Shakespeare Chapter Thirty-Seven
Remaining Steady through Life's Ups and Downs
If by Rudyard Kipling Chapter Thirty-Eight
Never Give Up
Invictus by William Ernest Henley Chapter Thirty-Nine
Putting One Foot in Front of the Other
The Waking by Theodore Roethke Chapter Forty
Should You React or Proact?
Waiting for the Barbariansby Constantine CavafyTranslated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard Chapter Forty-One
It's the Journey That Matters
Ithaka by Constantine Cavafy Translated by Edmund Keeley Chapter Forty-Two
Hold On to Your Dreams
Dreams by Langston Hughes PART FIVE
Into the Night Chapter Forty-Three
Should You Just Go for It?
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death by William Butler Yeats Chapter Forty-Four
Or Should You Be Careful?
Mus e des Beaux Arts by W. H. Auden Chapter Forty-Five
Dying Too Soon
We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks Chapter Forty-Six
Aging by Degrees
I Know I Am Getting Old by Wendell Berry Chapter Forty-Seven
The Critical Importance of Communication
Not Waving but Drowning by Stevie Smith Chapter Forty-Eight
Should You Rage?
Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas Chapter Forty-Nine
Or Is it Time to Go Gently?
Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson Chapter Fifty
I Did Not Die
Do not stand at my grave and weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye A Few Last Thoughts
Source Materials and Further Reading
About the Author INTRODUCTION
You may well wonder how I, a psychiatrist with no formal literary credentials, have chosen to write about the power of poetry to heal, inspire, and bring joy to people. It all started with a single phone call that came in late one night.
The caller was my friend David, and I knew immediately by the tone of his voice that something was wrong. He choked up as he told me that he had recently lost someone very dear to him. "How can I go on?" he mused. "How will I manage?"
Clich's and generalities readily come to mind in such situations, but I searched for something specific to say, something that might actually help. Recognizing that David is a person steeped in the arts, I said, "There is an art to losing, and like all art, it can be developed."
He was silent for a while, and when he spoke again, his voice sounded more cheerful, as though he had tapped into some hidden source of hope.
. "Do you know the poem 'One Art' by Elizabeth Bishop?" he asked.
I told him no.
"Well, let me read it to you," and he began: "'The art of losing isn't hard to master.'"
As he read on, his voice gathered strength and energy with each stanza. Afterwards his mood was lighter--and strangely, so was mine.
. "Can a poem really help a grieving person?" I wondered, "and if so, might other poems also have healing powers?" I marveled also at how David had reached into the depths of his grief and presented me with a gift--a poem that offered me a fresh perspective on how to help someone out of the darkness that can engulf you when you lose someone you love. I shared the poem with patients and friends, many of whom found comfort in its words, and looked for other poems that might have similar effects. Once I started looking, I found such poems everywhere. One friend, a therapist, had been so moved by a poem about aging by Wendell Berry th.