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Main : abuse, family, lesbian, mental health, poetry, religion, schizophrenia, violence against women


ISBN: 9781742199498
210 x 148 mm
82 pp
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The Mad Poet’s Tea Party
Sandy Jeffs
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but I am madness

and madness is me

it holds you captive

like a hapless bunny

caught in the headlights.

In this moving collection of poems, award-winning writer Sandy Jeffs shares her journey through madness over four decades, drawing inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and the motley gathering of characters at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Both delightful and insightful, playful and serious, witty and whimsical, The Mad Poet’s Tea Party provides a devastating commentary on how our society treats those with mental illness from the perspective of someone who has experienced all its interventions. It captures in poetic form the enigmas and contradiction in madness.

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Sandy is one of my all-time favourite poets and I admire her talent and courage immensely. For as Sandy puts it in “Dangling” ‘we dangle from a thread of sanity while madness snaps at our heels’ but it hasn’t stopped her from offering the very best of herself and we are the richer for her persistence over the years.
Jean Taylor, Sinister Wisdom
It’s clear poetry is Jeffs’s world; it permeates ordinary human existence, doing its best to withstand insanity and capitalism.
Michael Farrell, The Australian
Over six collections and a memoir, Melbourne poet Sandy Jeffs, has developed a considerable track record as an "insider" spokesperson for the mentally ill. She has battled schizophrenia and other disorders since 1976, From 1994, with her first book, Poems from the Madhouse, Jeffs has used poetry to provide a graphic insight into her situation and that of thousands of others enduring comparable problems.
Geoff Page, SMH

Table of Contents

Excerpt


The Madwoman in this Poem

(After Bronwen Wallace)

 

For Gudrun

 

Yet how stupendous a psychosis

in which God is heard…

 Gudrun Hinze

The madwoman in this poem

lives on the twenty-second floor

of a block of flats

her husband and children gone

each day she waits for a letter

that never comes

her wrists carry a flurry of scars

her arms are dotted with cigarette burns

every day she contemplates jumping.

 

The madwoman in this poem

walks the streets

reciting Shakespeare and Milton

she shelters in bus stops and doorways

scrounges through rubbish bins

drinks from discarded beer bottles

begs for money to buy cigarettes

and a moment’s respite.

 

The madwoman in this poem

slumps into a ramshackle chair

hiding herself

her large torpid body founders

her heavy breasts gush

drug-induced lactation

her body grows

with each anti-crazy pill

she reluctantly swallows.

 

The madwoman in this poem

transfixes in front of the TV

absorbing its many messages

Ally McBeal is her daughter

Eddie McGuire can read her mind

Ridge and Brooke are talking to her

are going to come in a helicopter

take her to Venice to meet Brad Pitt.

 

The madwoman in this poem

lives in a holy grotto

awaiting the Pilgrims

she carries the burden of Eve

smells God in the toilet

sees the Virgin above the lintel

has given birth to the New Messiah

carries the secret of the Holy Grail in her heart

was raped by the Devil

sees maggots wriggling in her stigmata.

 

The madwoman in this poem

is sure Beethoven stole the

nine symphonies from her

cannot walk on the cracks of the pavement

can feel spiders eating her brain

fears her head is about to explode

is going to the firing squad next morning

is a character in a Bruegel painting

is an oracle of the dead.

 

The madwoman in this poem

is everywoman

is any woman

is a mother, daughter

sister, lover, friend —

the madwoman in this poem —

is me.

 

Contents

 

Acknowledgements ix

The Madwoman in this Poem 1

Sensing Madness 4

Congratulations 5

Medicated 7

Cold Chemical Comfort 8

Marinade 10

Unquiet Mind 11

Of Shifting Images & Auras 12

Acrostic #1 13

Seeing the Insane 14

Waging War 15

Alice in Larundel Land 16

The Dark Hours 19

Dangling 20

Ceaseless Night 21

The Witching Hour 22

The Burrow 23

Mental Rape 24

Occupy My Mind 25

Caring for My Mind 26

Therapy: Prices Update 27

Passover 28

To Melancholia 29

Into the Dark Wood 31

The Mad Poet’s Tea Party 32

Acrostic #2 35

Seroquelled 36

SuperMadwoman 37

I Peeped 38

How? 39

Solitude 40

Awakening 41

Spirals 42

McMadness 44

I Called You Mad 47

There’s Something Dead in My House 49

When They Came to Get You 50

I am Not the Same Person 51

Surgery of the Soul 52

Threadbare 53

Calculating the Cost 54

Suicide 55

Staying Alive 56

To Be or Not To Be 57

Beggar 58

Housemate 59

Downsizing 60

The Social Worker 61

Where is the Rage? 62

The Sanity App 63

Done to Death 66

A Life 67

 

 

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