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Speaking Their Mind: Poets on Mental Health


Wednesday October 7, 2020: 7:00pm to 7:30pm  Add to Calendar /   Add to Google Calendar




In honor of National Mental Health Awareness week, October 4-10, five poets with Michigan connections share their poems addressing mental health struggle, reckoning, and triumph.

Poetry has a unique, perhaps even mystical ability to evoke emotion. We turn to it in times of sorrow, celebration, and meditation.  Poetry is our song, declaration, prayer or plea. In the fall of 2020, a time of national isolation and division in the U.S., we need poetry more than ever. Mental health concerns have skyrocketed in our country due to the worldwide pandemic, racial inequities, economic hardship and our political separations.

Daniella Toosie-Watson is a poet, visual artist and educator from New York. Winner of the 92Y 2020 Discovery Award Contest, her poetry has appeared in CallalooVirginia Quarterly ReviewThe Paris Review, The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT and elsewhere. Daniella received her MFA from the University of Michigan.

Marlin M. Jenkins was born and raised in Detroit and currently lives in Minnesota. The author of the poetry chapbook Capable Monsters (Bull City Press, 2020) and a graduate of University of Michigan's MFA program, his work has found homes with Indiana Review, The Rumpus, Missouri Review, and Kenyon Review Online, among others.

Karen Holman works for community mental health, has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa and serves december magazine. Her poetry has aired on NPR, been honored with Pushcart nominations, frames David Evan Thomas’ The First Apostle, and was performed by Pencilpoint Theatreworks. 

Jennifer Metsker’s poetry has been published in Beloit, BirdfeastCream City Review, Gulf CoastThe Southern Review, and many other journals. Her poetry collection Hypergraphia and Other Failed Attempts at Paradise is forthcoming from New Issues Press in Fall 2021. She teaches writing at the Stamps School of Art and Design.

Ellen Stone co-hosts Skazat! in Ann Arbor and advises Poetry Club at Community High School. She has authored What Is in the Blood (Mayapple Press, 2020) and The Solid Living World (Michigan Writers’ Cooperative Press, 2013). Ellen’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart prize and Best of the Net. 

This video premieres on AADL.TV.