Tag Archives: mental illness

Healing the Phantom Pains Through Poetry: Q&A with Noelle Kocot

I turn to the poems of Noelle Kocot for the same reason I entered corn mazes as a kid: both are pleasurably unpredictable, and both transform everyday places into thrilling twilight zones. Though Kocot’s writing has covered a great deal of formal and conceptual terrain over the course of her seven books, her work has remained whip-smart and darkly playful, consistently carrying off great feats of imagination while orbiting an urgent emotional truth. These hallmarks are present in the restless quatrains of her Levis Poetry Prize-winning first collection, in the unflinching elegies for her late husband in Sunny Wednesday, and, …Continue reading

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History Repeats and Repeats and Repeats: Will Self’s ‘Umbrella’

Will Self’s new novel, Umbrella (Grove Press, 397 pages), is a whirlwind journey through the lives of four characters living in three different eras. A Modernist novel featuring frenetic stream of consciousness writing, Self defies convention and digs deep into the social issues plaguing the 20th century. Audrey Death matures in London at the turn of the century, when underground railroads and automobiles were changing the landscape of the city. Following World War I, which splits Audrey from her brothers Albert and Stanley, she suffers a mental breakdown. Later diagnosed with encephalities lethargica, Audrey is stashed away in Friern Mental …Continue reading

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