Thursday 8 February 2018

Review by Rosalind Adam of "Please Hear What I'm Not Saying" edited by Isabelle Kenyon

The poetry anthology Please Hear What I’m Not Saying is described by Isabelle Kenyon as ‘a labour of love.’ It is certainly a mammoth achievement with contributions from over one hundred poets on the subject of mental health and wellbeing. 

Kenyon is author of This is not a Spectacle and The Trees Whispered. She explains that she compiled the anthology for a chance to work with other poets and to make a positive contribution to Mind, the charity that supports people with mental health issues. All profits from the book will go to this charity.  

In October 2017 Kenyon put out a call for submissions on her website,, with an apology that no payments would be made to contributors. She did not expect to receive such an overwhelming number of submissions, a result that must surely reflect the number of people in the country affected by mental health.

Readers have been invited to provide titles for each of the eight sections. Kenyon gives us a clue to their contents in the introduction where she tells us that each section grows ‘with positivity.’ I like the idea of creating my own section headings. It feels as if I have been involved in the compilation process, involved with the content and reminded that we are all affected in some way by mental health issues.

There are too many poems to mention them all. As I read the anthology, I visited over a hundred people’s minds with my ‘face pressed into the dirt’ and ‘the all too familiar mantra sounding loud and clear / in my ear: I hate you, please don’t leave me,' the reminder that it’s ‘Easier to paint a smile of lies / than stumble over the truth,’ and the reassurance that ‘storm clouds part/and I can see / chinks of light appearing.’ This anthology is, in fact, full of familiar emotions and recognisable scenarios. Even if the proceeds were not going to Mind Charity, I would still buy a copy just to reassure myself that other people feel the same way too.

About the reviewer
Rosalind Adam is a writer and student on the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. Her blog is:

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