Baked Verse – Buy Books Help People
On 25th Aug 2016 at 7 pm, I’m co-hosting The Baked Verse Poetry Night at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast. I’d love if you could join me but if you can’t attend you can support the event by buying one of the books from the wish list. Every book will aid the recovery of patients in local mental health groups.
Poetry and Cake, the most comforting social event ever?
Baked Verse is an open mic night where everyone can bring poems that made a difference in their life and their favourite cake, buns, traybakes, or biscuits they enjoy eating while reading those poems. The event is free, but we’d appreciate a donation of whatever you like towards buying books.
The aim is to raise enough money to buy ten copies of The Emergency Poet, an anthology of poems, selected to help destress the mind. It’s an ideal poetry starter kit for patients in local mental health groups.
A couple of years ago I was going through a rough time (man code for depression) and I was too stubborn to ask for help thinking it would be weak or an admission of failure. Depression is a sneaky illness that shames you into hiding it from others because that stops you getting help. There’s a bleak but accurate quote from Harvey Fierstein about depression,
It’s merciless. All it wants is to get you in a room alone and kill you.
Depression is the Iago of mental illness. Like Shakespeare’s sly villain it whispers lies into your ear to convince you to make the worst choices. I was lucky, surrounded by family and friends who didn’t give up on me and convinced me to go for counselling. In that period of recovery and ever since I’ve got a lot of comfort and personal reflection through reading poetry.
Poetry takes you out of the world, calms you down and sends you back with more options and better perspectives. My breakthrough poem was ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost. I may never be able to explain why but it was the piece that encouraged a major rethink on my life. I jumped at this chance to take part in an event to put poetry books into mental health groups because of my experience of the benefits.
On the night anyone can take the stage to share their poems of choice, and there’ll be plenty of tea and coffee for the shortbread, caramel squares, lemon drizzle, tipsy cake or any other baked loveliness. And it’s all for a good cause.
I’d love it if you could make it (you can RSVP over on the facebook page) but even if you can’t be there on the night, you can still help by buying one of the books from the wishlist.
If you’re reading or listening to this months or years after the event, the wishlist link will still be live, and one of the baked verse team will make sure the book gets to a group that helps mental health patients.
Until next time, be healthy and happy.