terse editor: In the introduction to Please Hear What I’m Not Saying you mention how limited mental health services are in terms of funding and support. When did it first occur to you that you’d make the focus of your collection mental health in order to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity? Can you tell me what drew you to their organization specifically?
Isabelle Kenyon: The focus of mental health came about both from my observations of the poetry being shared across social media platforms, the themes of mental health emerging from those, and my desire to create a theme which was both broad, inclusive and would ignite a passion in writers to submit to the project. It had to be something people would feel passionate about – and so simply on principle of supporting Mind, people submitted their work. Mind, to me, has the largest profile of mental health charities in the UK and their money and the work they do reaches the largest audience. However, I am looking into also donating part of the profits of the book to other UK charities, perhaps smaller organisations who the proceeds from the book could really help.
terse editor: While sifting through the poems for the collection, as the editor, what were you noticing in terms of connections between writers? Mental health is their common theme, but any images, feelings, experiences bonding these writers together in solidarity through their craft?
Isabelle Kenyon: There were definitely themes emerging – in terms of style, distancing of mental health conditions through different tenses and in some cases personification of conditions such as depression. In terms of topic, themes of motherhood, Alzheimer’s, family, sarcasm, and self-reflection emerged. I have tried to group each section together in way which complements the work of each writer in the collection.
terse editor: Has compiling this collection opened your eyes or changed your approach to mental health discussions?
Isabelle Kenyon: I think the overall impression it’s had on me is: mental health is no small feat – conversation needs to become commonplace. This book has proved to me how wide spread and urgent it is for support to be in place for those who struggle with their mental health.
Please Hear What I’m Not Saying is now available in paperback and ebook format.