Press Release

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Title: Presents of Mind
Publisher: Dodnash Books
ISBN: 978-1-9997832-3-5
Format: paperback
Number of pages: 66 (A4)
Price: Paperback – £20
Publication date: 1st September 2018

Short bio:

Richard Stephenson Clarke is a fly fisherman, a mathematician, a therapist; and lately, a poet. It’s in the liminal space between the reflective practice of therapy and the creative pool of the unconscious where his unique style of poetry was born.

Long bio:

Richard Stephenson Clarke is a fly fisherman, a mathematician, a therapist; and lately, a poet. It’s in the liminal space between the reflective practice of therapy and the creative pool of the unconscious where his unique style of poetry was born.

The whole thing started 6 years ago – he was reading a magazine in between therapy sessions. There was an article answering the question “What is therapy?” he found himself wanting to answer in his own way – and then to share this – an unusual urge for an introvert! His immediate response involved an image of the jungle, of going into the unknown, of the courage needed to press into a future with so much uncertainty…

Later that evening he came back to it and started to write in the visual terms of this metaphor. The poetry just spilled out…

He wrote a piece (Glimpses), and shared a draft in a therapy newsletter. He hadn’t written anything before, but people liked it; it was well received! He was excited just to do it.

He didn’t write anything else for a year or two, then found he really wanted to express himself, to put into words his thoughts and feelings about the therapeutic process, and the nature of the real mental struggles we can all find ourselves in.  He had time on his own after a divorce – and that solitude turned out to be a gift. He found a new capacity to draw from the well of his learning from clients and his own reflections. He initially wrote a more personal piece, not in the book, about a spring – about finding something coming out of an unexpected place, something life-giving, something very good flowing free – the sense that truths he’d been mulling over for many years were now ripe. He couldn’t stop it – the writing, like a spring, was going to emerge! For a while he couldn’t sleep – there were so many ideas… and yet, the poems were short, distilled into a few words.

After a while he started to discover a shape crystallising in one of the pieces. Having spent a lot of time working on that one, he enthusiastically tried to see if it was possible to find a shape in another. He realised that more of the pieces had inherent shapes, and what he needed to do was to uncover them. He then couldn’t resist the huge challenge to find new shapes in all of them – honouring meanings that he initially didn’t realise were there. The shape and style of the book as a whole began to present itself in the same way. The evolution of the book felt like a parallel to the unfolding of the uniqueness, creativity and dynamic wholeness of an individual in therapy.

The whole process turned out to be deeply satisfying – and an enjoyable way to share his thoughts.