Madder Than We Look – ed. by Hayley Green

Cover design from an original artwork by Robert Lever


Published 2016 by Big White Shed
Edited by Hayley Green
Full title: Madder Than We Look: A Write Minds Poetry Collection
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 36
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Synopsis (from the blurb):

The poetry in this collection speaks of the tales in our heads, giving an insight to a world often locked inside our minds and looks towards the future with hope and positivity.

Write Minds is an organisation that is all about releasing the thoughts in our heads in a creative way. This poetry collection celebrates just that.

This book was introduced to me by Anne Holloway of Big White Shed, and she kindly gave me a copy to read.

This collection features a variety of different poets, but all their contributions are linked by a common theme: mental health/suicide/self-harm. It was born from Write Mind’s first creative writing competition which asked individuals to explore ‘mental health difficulties and how art has helped them step forward.’

The submissions to the book were judged by Joelle Taylor, Hayley Green, and Stephen Ashburn.

The subject of mental health is one very close to my heart, and I am trying to read more writing by people who have been affected by mental health, either directly or through friends and family.

The submissions published in this collection are not only outstanding in craft, but they all work together and contribute to a discourse which can only do positive things for raising awareness of mental health.

Contributors to this collection include: Chris McLoughlin, Anne Holloway, Hayley Green, Neal Pike, Leanne Moden, Beccy Shore…and many more besides!

My lasting impression of this book is that it acknowledges the dark side of mental health and how damaging it can be in a variety of ways, without being a depressing collection. I use the term ‘depressing’ whilst being mindful that these contributions touch on depression and suicide quite openly, and the poets were successful in evoking a sense of grief, loss, and emptiness while still leaving me with hope.

As I read, I didn’t know what specific issue or mental illness each poem would be focused on. Some of them make it obvious, as with the poem ‘(nxty)’ by J. A. Sharpe, but from page to page I didn’t know what to expect.

The contributions are varied and differ in style and voice. Sometimes they are personal, other times they play with form and the page. Others read more like a poetic prose story, but all of them offer us a glimpse into the life of someone affected by mental health.

For me, the impact came from how many different voices spoke through these words to me. These poems show me that although you can have two people who are both affected by anxiety, depression, self-harm etc. this doesn’t mean their experiences are the same.

We might bond over a shared appreciation of the strength it takes to live a life touched by mental health and the on-going grief, but we each have our own stories to tell, and all of them are unique.This collection tells a selection of those stories.

Buy the book here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s