An Anthology of Poetry Written by Patients at Dayton State Hospital
Shubert, Linda Carol
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These poems were written by nine patients at Dayton State Hospital during the three months I held a poetry group there twice weekly. People who had expressed previous interest in writing were invited to the first session; they all continued to come more or less voluntarily although some needed help to get there. At first we discussed poems I had mimeographed for the group. The discussions surprised me. These people were incredibly sensitive to the material in the poems and the discussions were active and interesting. Although once in a while comments were made which showed the person's concern with his illness, such as "This person is afraid of being alone", most of these comments were supported by the poem. The discussions showed that the patients were willing to go outside of themselves to examine and consider some one elses thoughts and feelings. The patients began writing their own poems after the first meeting and we began discussing these poems during the hour. Again, as can be seen by the poems, the people expressed interest both in themselves and in the outside world.