Here is where I feel something beyond what I know. That something is different than my capacity to let—something meets me in the act of letting and welcomes my willingness. Like the invisible current in a river, poetry as healer has a pull larger than myself. I feel this work comes as a calling, and that call is far beyond my doing. That current and that call only asks this of me: that I pay attention.

— John Fox, "Poetry's Call: An Exploration of Let and Letting"

John Fox, Certified Poetry Therapist, is a poet and author of Finding What You Didn't Lose:  Expressing Your Truth and Creativity through Poem-Making and Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making. He teaches regularly at the collegiate and post graduate level as an adjunct faculty member of the California Institute of Integral Studies, Sofia University (formerly The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology,) and Holy Names University, Oakland.  He taught for twenty years as adjunct at John F. Kennedy University – first through the Graduate School of Professional Psychology and then since 1997 in the Arts & Consciousness Department.

  • John's work reaches:

    He has presented in all regions of the United States, as well as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Israel, South Korea, Kuwait and Canada.  In addition, his work influences people and poetry therapy practitioners in the Philippines, Greece, Lithuania, Iceland, Peru, Sicily, France and Japan. He conducts ongoing poetry groups in the San Francisco Bay Area and has led retreats: "The Nature of Poetry," on sacred Diné (Navajo) land in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona.

    John is an international leader in the movement of poetry therapy as expressive art and medicine. He served as president of National Association of Poetry Therapy in 2003- 2005. He received The National Association for Poetry Therapy's Distinguished Service Award in 1995.  He left NAPT in 2005 to found The Institute for Poetic Medicine.

    He attended Boston University and received his B.A. from Bard College in New York in 1977.  It was during this time he met Ram Dass, a longtime spiritual friend and strong influence on his work. He trained with poetry therapy pioneer, Joy Shieman at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California from 1985 to 1988. (Click on Joy's name to learn more about John's training with her from an Kota Press Journal interview) John lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.

    People in therapeutic, healing, medical, teaching and pastoral professions benefit deeply and find practical support as they reconnect to the inner impulse that drew them to their professional calling while discovering inner resources that will sustain them in their daily lives.

    John's work has especially touched people living with life altering illnesses.  His workshops will be inspiring and uplifting for anyone with a desire to express their deeper truth and creativity.

  • Educational Summary

    • Bachelor of Arts received in Creative Writing and English
    • 1978: Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York
    • 1973-75: attended Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts

    Further Training and Certifications

    • Certified Poetry Therapist (C.P.T.)
    • 1991: The National Association of Poetry Therapy
    • Interned 3.5 years at El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, California
    • Trained with poetry therapy pioneer Joy Shieman, R.P.T.
  • Teaching

  • Publications

  • Presentations and Workshops (partial list)

    • Hospitals, Medical Schools & Wellness Centers   >>

      • Mind/Body Medical Institute of the Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Boston, MA
      • Stanford University Complementary Care Clinic at Stanford Medical Hospital; Oncology Support Group
      • Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, CA
      • Royal Free Hospital, University College London
      • University of Florida Medical School/Shands Hospital, Gainesville, FL
      • Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Hospital/Lourdes Wellness Center, Collingswood, NJ
      • Wellness Communities in Atlanta, GA, Philadelphia, PA, Redondo Beach, CA, Columbus, OH, Santa Monica, CA, Boston, MA and Walnut Creek, CA
      • Cancer Lifeline Support Center, Seattle, WA
      • Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea
      • St. John of God Hospice, Dublin, Ireland
      • Alta Bates Hospital, Berkley, CA
      • London School of Medicine/St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, England
      • Manchester Memorial Hospital, Manchester, CT
      • California Pacific Medical Center, Grand Rounds for Pediatric Palliative Care, with Dr. Nancy Iverso
    • Conferences   >>

      • American Psychological Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA
      • Common Boundary National Conference, Washington, D.C.
      • National Wellness Institute Community College Conference, Denver, CO
      • Association for Transpersonal Psychology International Conference, Vancouver, B.C.; LAPIDUS, Huddersfield, England
      • Mystical Paths to Wholeness, Houston, TX
      • Life Stories, Life Images: A Celebration of the Creative Arts, Ursuline College, Cleveland, OH
      • Jonathan Swift Conference, Cavan County Arts Council, Cavan, Ireland
      • Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture, London England
      • Survivor's Poetry Scotland, Glasgow, Scotland
      • Irish Mind Medicine Academy, Dublin, Ireland
      • Rogesh, A Center for Expressive Therapy, Kfar Saba, Israel
      • Writing the Medical Experience, Bronxville, NY
      • Kuwait University Literary Festival, Kuwait
    • Retreats, Centers, Associations and Institutes    >>

      • Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY
      • Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA
      • C. G. Jung Center of San Antonio, TX and Houston, TX
      • The Mandala Center, Des Moines, NM
      • The San Diego Writing Center, San Diego, CA
      • Canadian Centre for Peace, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
      • Community for Integrative Learning, Wilmington, DE
      • Squaw Valley Writers Community
      • Kuwait Writer’s Association Colleges and Universities
      • Stanford University, Stanford , CA
      • Harvard University, Boston, MA
      • University of Florida at Gainesville, FL
      • The College of St. Catherine, Minneapolis, MN
      • University of California at San Francisco
      • University of California at Santa Cruz
      • Massasoit Community College, Boston, MA
      • Georgia Perimeter College, Atlanta, GA
      • Naropa University, Boulder, CO
      • Kyonggi University, Seoul, South Korea
      • Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY
      • Kuwait University, Kuwait City Churches and Meditation Centers
      • Western Texas Diocese of the Episcopal Church, San Antonio, TX
      • Church of the Saviour, Cleveland, OH
      • Brigid's Episcopal Retreat Center, Houston, TX
      • Clare’s Place Retreat Center, College Station, TX
      • Transfiguration Episcopal Church, Belmont, CA
      • Shambhala Meditation Center, Atlanta, GA
      • Unity Church, Palo Alto, CA
      • St. John of the Divine Cathedral, New York City, NY
      • Mandala Center, Episcopal Retreat House, Des Moines, NM
    • Professional Associations    >>

      • California Poets In The Schools 1992 - 1998
      • National Association for Poetry Therapy:
      • President 2003-2005; Board Member 1993-2005
      • Member since 1985
      • Former board member of the Center for Humanities in Medicine

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