Anne M. Carson: Writing Poems about Death of Beloved

Dr. Gloria Horsley interviews Anne M. Carson, a poet from Australia, at the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference. Carson lost her husband, which is what directed her latest work. However, she was a poet before this loss. In Australia, it’s a ten year apprenticeship to release a book of poetry, which Carson had already completed before her husband’s death. Her latest work, which she reads to Dr. Horsley, focuses on bereavement, her husband’s illness, and the fact that Western societies aren’t very “good” at grieving.

Carson’s book of poetry, Removing the Kimono, features a middle section dedicated to her husband, their life together, and her grief. She reads a few selections from her book, but it’s also important to keep in mind that nobody has to be a “poet” in order to benefit from enjoying or even writing their own poems. It’s a form of art therapy that’s accessible to absolutely anyone.

Finding Empathy

Poetry, the genre renowned for exploring love and loss, can be a form of support for grievers. It’s a way to see that you’re not alone, and to see just the right words put together that express how you’re feeling. Writing poetry is a great means of getting your feelings on paper in a creative way. There’s no letter writing, worry over “proper writing,” or limits with poetry.

Carson is happy to share her work and her experience with her readers, and says that there’s a clear shift in the book where you can tell her life was changing. Dr. Horsley recommends Carson’s work to anyone facing an illness or loss of a loved one. Sometimes the support you find isn’t necessarily what you imagine—sometimes it’s in a book.

Gloria Horsley

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Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, "Healing the Grieving Heart," which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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