UPDATED 12 / 4 / 2021
‘Bibliotherapy’, which can be any literary activity (writing, reading or storytelling) that helps people to assume more control of their health and wellbeing, has a long history that goes as far back as Ancient Greece. In the latter part of 2019, the Library chose to examine more closely how we could use our collections to help people.
This page, which we shall update throughout the year, collects together the Scottish Poetry Library’s resources dedicated to mindfulness, wellbeing and bibliotherapy.
Online Mindfulness and Expressive Writing Course
This eight-week Mindfulness and Expressive Writing course (MEW) provides an introduction to mindfulness meditation combined with expressive and creative writing practices. Each meditation practice is paired with a poem and a specific expressive writing practice. The course begins with an hour-long introduction session on April 25, 2021, before the course begins proper on May 2.
The course takes place in Sundays, at 11am, and after the introductory hour-long session, each session is two and a half hours long (including a break).
To reserve a place online, click here.
To learn more about Colin McGuire’s take on Mindfulness, click here.
Creative Writing for Wellbeing
A gentle, guided writing group for people living with Long Covid, run by Lesley MacNiven. No writing experience or love of poetry required – these workshops are intended as an empathetic means to connect with peers and share thoughts and feelings.
Starts 6 May, after which the course is ongoing.
Book your place here.
Creative Words for Wellbeing in Scotland
Libraries, public organisations and practitioners across Scotland are collaborating on Creative Words for Wellbeing in Scotland, a new project using reading and writing to improve the health of the nation. Our Project Co-ordinator Ruth Stevenson will be writing about the project over the coming months.
Read her first blog here.
The Context for a Creative Words for Wellbeing network Reference Group has published its findings.
Prescribe Culture Pilot Project
The Library partnered with the University of Edinburgh on its ‘Prescribe Culture’ project, which aimed to tackle low-level mental health problems, social isolation and loneliness by being a place of referral for people to explore poetry as a way of supporting wellbeing.
Click here for more information.
Prescribe Culture exercises
Over November 2019, we held a Prescribe Culture exhibition. We invited the public to explore poems we had selected and displayed. Visitors could choose to use guided exercises we’d written to help people use and reflect on the poetry, make their own selection of poetry or to simply enjoy a cup of tea in a different space.
Everyone was invited to contribute to our ‘thankful tree.’ The exhibition is over now but the ‘thankful tree’ remains. Take one of the tags provided and write down something you are thankful for – this could be something ‘big’ such as recovery from illness or something small and every-day, for example ‘the colour of the leaves on my walk this morning’.
The exercises that were created to accompany our 2019 exhibition ‘Prescribe Culture’ are still available to use via our website. They are designed to aid a deep slow reading of poetry that has been shown to ease and calm the mind. You can find them here.
Poetry and Wellbeing for Teachers
Join us on Saturday, 18 January for an afternoon of workshops and talks and readings, exploring mindfulness techniques and poetry to support wellbeing in the classroom. The event runs from 1pm to 4.30pm (£25).
In association with To Learn the Future: Poems for Teachers.
If you wish to attend all the Professional Development Days for Teachers for £95, email Hannah Lavery at Hannah.Lavery@spl.org.uk to reserve a ticket. Otherwise, you can buy a ticket to this event by clicking here.
Have your Say on National Development of Creative Words for Wellbeing Services in Scotland
The Scottish Poetry Library and Lapidus Scotland, supported by the Scottish Library and Information Council, warmly invite you to a Roundtable to gather your ideas about developing a national network of Creative Words for Wellbeing Services in Scotland.
To learn more, click here.
Giving Words to Grief
Since the onset of the Covid pandemic, nearly everyone has had to deal with grief of one variety or another, and if not theirs, then the grief of others. That the pandemic follows on the heels of other ongoing meltdowns, from economic to environment, has only made bearing these griefs more difficult. Personal and collective losses have been multiplying: loss of habitat for so many of our fellow beings with whom we share our planet earth, loss of freedom to travel to meet friends and family, fires everywhere, ice melting, oceans rising, plants and animals and insects endangered or becoming extinct. We need to grieve.
In this special podcast, poets Larry Butler and former Edinburgh Makar Valerie Gillis read poems written during three short online writing sessions which they led last November. These workshops were run by Lapidus Scotland in association with the Scottish Poetry Library. Larry and Valerie read a number of the poems and there are recordings of poems by workshop participants. Larry is the first voice you hear on the recording.