“Finally at peace”, the last bullet will let you fly high in the sky

Reem Yasir, Sudanese poet, opens her poem “in medias res”. The protagonist has a gun in her hand, it’s loaded. There are three bullets, three chances of ending it. Of silencing that evil voice in the head that has always made commented every action and thought insulting and belittling. But the protagonist misses and the voices becomes even more cruel. The final lines of the poem portray all the contrasting emotions that can be felt in such a desperate moment: the exasperation of a soul that can’t find any peace and the unspoken, touching desire for a different life.

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“I Want to Fall Apart Quietly”: there’s hope at the end of sadness

A versatile artist from Zimbabwe, Chioniso Tsikisayi reveals in this poem a peculiar approach to mental health themes. A moment of awareness about an imminent psychological breakdown is represented with a very light and even sweet touch: the fall can be as beautiful as the rise. In the author’s own words: ““The light-heartedness of my writing is an ode to my inner child who chooses to see beauty in the midst of chaos. I think the literary space is already saturated with great, sombre pieces of writing, but as a young girl navigating the world, I don’t want everything that I read to be too heavy.”

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Abigail George, when the word confronts the darkness of paranoia

“Please help revise the jalapeños and Theodore Roethke” is the title of this poem that introduces us into an unusual yet familiar world. It is a wild territory where reality and dreams meet, where everyday elements remind us of their symbolic dimension and where the voices in our heads start a dialogue with the voices of authors whose books we have read or composers whose music we have listened to. Far from being a mere juxtaposition of images and sounds, Abigail George’s is an accurately structured poem that reveals the struggle for mental well-being and for becoming an independent, emotionally stable woman.

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“Like a candle in the wind”, so we blow out the flame of our life

“It’s so difficult, this living thing / two decades sometimes / are more than one can bear”, this is the beginning of this moving poem composed about the sudden death of a very young and talented poet. It is the author herself to explain it, vangile gantsho, South African poet and healer who started to write and create at a young age and developed an interest into confessional and political writing. Although “some scars are too deep / even for poetry”, this poem enlightens the darkest emotions of the human soul that can lead to suicide, a choice no one should quickly label as coward and selfish, the author says.

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“Left without”, a woman inside the imaginery cave of depression

Akimana Divine is a Rwandan poet, mental healthcare advocate and human rights activist. Her works have been published on numerous magazines and anthologies. The poem “Left without” allow us into that imaginery cave that is depression: a dark place where one is left without anything but his/her ghosts and fears. Divine has had her own hardships in life, first as a young girl being bullied for her weight and then as a single mother raising her boy alone. These painful experiences led her to find comfort in poetry and to write her own poems as a way of struggling against depression.

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