Gwenn A. Nusbaum: “My first recorded poem was in eighth grade. By high school, I declared in another poem that the pen was my favorite tool for expression. I followed the ‘conventional’ track of pursuing professional studies in psychology in college, yet straddled the world of the arts—especially English and literature. Graduate school in social work and post-graduate training in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis led to a career in which I have the privilege of helping people navigate their lives, engaging in personal dialogues. Before work, I write poetry. I see poems as possessing the potential for global dialogue, human to human, soul to soul.”
Releasing in December, 2010, Rattle #34 turns its attention to another intimate vocation, spotlighting the poetry of 26 mental health professionals. These psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counselors, and case-workers dive inside the mind daily and come home soggy with the muck of dreams. Many of them write about their careers, but the scope is broad, and all of their poems are informed by years of training and unique insights on the human soul. The section is highlighted throughout by the stunning abstract portraiture of art therapist Mia Barkan Clarke. As psychoanalyst Forrest Hamer writes, “so much depends on what’s under.”
Yet the Tribute is only part of the issue. Rattle #34’s open section features the work of 50 poets, plus the 11 winners of the 2010 Rattle Poetry Prize. Also, Alan Fox interviews former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and Pablo Neruda translator William O’Daly.