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Letter of Recommendation | Naomi Shihab Nye


Feb. 21, 2023  For so many years, The Institute for Poetic Medicine has been weaving together our beloved practices of poetry -- writing, reading, and sharing of poetry --with essential therapeutic principles and guidance. The visionary founder John Fox and his colleagues, now active in many cities all over our country, have made this necessary blend and organic curriculum evolve in an inclusive way that has changed thousands of lives. I have been among their strongest believers since the very beginning (having long ago worked in “poetry therapy” projects with adults diagnosed with mental illnesses) and seen firsthand the potent benefit. I have sat in their circles, listened to practitioner as well as leader John Fox inspire large groups, and received many letters from people testifying to the benefit of this crucial work in their lives.  Poetry for the sake of healing as well as aesthetic appreciation becomes poetry experience that is doubled, enriched, enlarged. Imaginative labor – portable practices beneficial to all participants – change the entire sphere of thinking and doing. John Fox is a true hero, yet has always kept his work close to the ground, available, accessible, and inviting.  Having had the honor of serving as the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate for three years, 2019-2022, I know the importance of reaching out to and including many diverse audiences of all ages and helping them know poetry is their friend. The kinds of thinking which poetry encourages are crucial to well-being and stability, personal acceptance and enlarged comfort in one’s experience in the world. They help us restabilize during deepest grief. The Institute for Poetic Medicine underscores deep listening to one another as well as deep listening to ourselves as we work on craft, content, and clarity.  With all my heart and hope, I urge your support of The Institute for Poetic Medicine. Thank you.  Sincerely,  Naomi Shihab Nye Chancellor Emeritus, The Academy of American Poets Past Young People’s Poet Laureate for the Poetry Foundation Past editor of poems for the New York Times Sunday Magazine & the Texas Observer Professor, Creative Writing, Texas State University Member, American Academy of Arts & Sciences Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Texas Institute of Letters and the National Book Critic’s Circle Ivan Sandrof Award

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