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FORUMME, MYSELF, IBridge makes a number of assumptions based on a very selective and limited dataset about poets and women’s experience of depression.She also makes assumptions regarding the nature of ‘I’ as used in poetry, which suggest a lack of understanding concerning the myriad ways poets utilise ‘I’ in their work. Amy McCauley, ManchesterGillian Bridge’s conflation of autobiography with dangerous self-obsession was misinformed and misguided. Through language, poetry transfigures the personal into the universal, the private mythos into collective mythology. Poets do not uselanguage ‘for its own sake’ but as a way to communicate. The more we dig into our subjective truth, the more we find connection.I could list so many powerful writers, from Montaigne to Maya Angelou, from Whitman to Adrienne Rich, whose work links inner exploration to the transformation of the world. It is often the marginalised who feel the greatest need for autobiography: to put into the world stories which are not being told. Catherine Temma Davidson, West LondonIf you are depressed (and I am one who knows), you have to try and find a way out of it. Yourentire being is focused on this process, and unless one wishes to resort to medication, this can only take place with a great deal of introspection. Crisis, in terms of depression or a breakdown, gives us the chance to rethink our learned patterns. Poetry, and writing in general, can be a great aid to this process. During a severe clinical depression it is difficult to take any real interest in things outside oneself. It’sas if one is watching the world ‘out there’ on a screen, unable to participate. It is my contention that the reduction in the high use of the ‘I’ pronoun doesn’t cause depression to lift, ratherit is the lifting of the depression that causes the sufferer to be less internally focused. Barbara Pybus, Folkestone, KentI am a writer, trained as a psychotherapeutic counsellor,a member of Lapidus (www.lapidus.org.uk) interested in bringing creative writing into therapeutic settings. I agree with Bridge that being enclosed in the ‘I’ perspective can be unhealthy. But a sustained ‘I’ narrative can also be cathartic. Often the real therapy comesin using the tools of creative writing to gain differing perspectives and a variety of distances from the story. This comes from crafting, which creative writing encourages. It is no panacea – what is? But within certain contexts it can indeed contribute to healing. Kate Evans, ScarboroughTHE S*** WORDA teacher had us rewrite the first chapter of Pride and Prejudice.I did it as chick lit. It becomesv feminist. Sophia Walker, via TwitterI happen to think ‘shag’ is a horrible word but I do recognise that not everyone does. I wasshocked as I had young children around and didn’t want tohave to explain. Perhaps I need transporting back to Jane Austen’s age: a more subtle nuanced era. Caroline Sutton, BristolApologies to anyone who was upset by our December cover. I fear the bloody knife on this issue might not be an improvement! DTI chuckled and wondered what the postman made of it. Kirsty Higginson, LongtonSEXIST TITLESIn school, I was a Lee amongst Lucys, Katies, Ashleys and Elizabeths. I didn’t choose this name. I do, however, like being a Lee. It doesn’t get any better than being a 23-year old female writer with a gender neutral name. Itis the mystery, I think. When people read my name, I imagine their confusion. Are you male? Are you female? More often I am assigned male. A name like Lee allows my writing to speak for itself. A woman named Lee or Noel or Ryann (my two sisters’ names) asks to be challenged on the page. What do you think I am? Take a guess. I revel in your uncertainty. Lee Styer, via emailMslexia – Are We Cured Yet? makes for interesting reading but I would also argue that people’s perceptions of what different sexes should and shouldn’tread should also be taken into account. I am a woman who likes to read historical books on WWI and WWII. I like to read novels by Andy McNab. I’m forever being told those are men’s books. Does that mean I should only read books about romance and the history of baking? If a female author was writing about the SAS would it somehow become more acceptable to read those type of books? There might be men out there who would likecontinued on p13MSLEXIA POLLWill recent political events (Trump, Brexit, et al) affect your writing?By over two to one (68%versus 32%), you agreed thatit would: mainly because writing automatically reflects the life of the writer – though many saw writing as a welcome escape.YOU SAID► I am revisiting a draftof a novel about the antiglobalisation protests in 2000. I shelved it after 9/11 as priorities changed, but 17 years on the same issues have come back to haunt me. K P Parker ► Active avoidance is still engagement, in a way.Lynn Caldwell► The political hash that bombards me has had a remarkable effect. I findmyself wanting to write about gorgonzola, the Borgias, and the odd dandelion and cow- pat. Stephanie Newham► I write for the escapism so it’ll be good to get (mentally) away from the current issues. Jennifer Riddalls► I am writing about parallel universes which seems strangely appropriate for the times we’ve found ourselves in. Sara Last► I find the political unrestso depressing and stressfulI’m aiming to keep my writing entirely separate. Le’anne► I’ve put fiction on hold for the moment and started using my voice to champion the work of others who are overlooked. Soph Blaney-Parslow► I went to a poetry workshop about ‘clouds’ and thoughtI was escaping for a fewhours, then my clouds turned into refugees... Catherine T DavidsonLetters: PO Box 656, Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 1PZ Emails: postbag@mslexia.co.uk Comments: facebook.com/ mslexia or via the contact form at www.mslexia.co.uk/contact Tweets: twitter.com/mslexiaChallenges, poll links and discussion topics are posted on Facebook, Twitter, mslexia Max and www.mslexia.co.ukmslexia Mar/Apr/May 2017 11PHOTO: ALEXANNABUTS / SHUTTERSTOCK


































































































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