Foreword ix
Appreciation xi
Introduction 1
1. “Cleaveland” 5
2. The Three Pillars of Biblio/Poetry Therapy 7
3. Five Stages of Action Poetry Therapy 14
4. Adolescents and The Little Prince 29
5. The Poet-Therapist Listens: Hearing the Healing Metaphor 34
6. In Honor of Psyche and Syntax 43
7. Out of Our Argument with Ourselves 54
8. Poetry Therapy: A User Friendly Modality 67
9. Embodying the Learning with Alloprinciple Poetry 71
10. Biblio/Poetry Therapy in the Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder 75
11. Museletter Interview 87
12. Wordscapes: The Art of Seeing the Invisible 92
Afterword 117
Appendix—The Wordsworth Center Intensives 119
Glossary of Words Asterisked in Text 127
Index of Authors 129
References 131
About the Author 137

Stage Three


The involvement segment of a session, like the volta in a sonnet, is its turning point, its crux, alive with the possibility of fresh perspective. Involvement is the creative heart of the poetry therapy session. For me, it is the most demanding and provocative part. It challenges me to evoke deeper response by choosing and using literature that illuminates comparison and contrasts, and sparks lively interaction. I pose stimulating questions to tease out not only connection, but also opposition, often eliciting greater authenticity in thought and feeling expression. Within the session, it is the time when many participants become aware of the rich complexity they are made of, built upon their phases of growth and learning.

By speaking what they think and feel and interacting with fellow group members who also express their thoughts and feelings in relation to the literature and to each other, participants enhance identity and confidence.


One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond, over the deep
roughage of the trees and though the stiff
flowers of lightning—some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.

~ Mary Oliver from “One or Two Things” in Dream Work

Of all the terrible questions that Alice is asked in Wonderland,
the most terrible is puffed out by the hookah-smoking Caterpillar:
“Who are you?” As Alice knows, the question has no answer.
The only speck of the world that must remain invisible to us is
our self. In our own eyes, we can be nothing but looking-glass
images, always plural, the reflections that others send back to us
and that we incessantly make ours or reject.

~ Alberto Manguel