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.
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.