N.E.W.S From the Desk

April 2023

Many of us watch the men in our lives struggle with different aspects of their mental health. While accompanying my late brother on his own journey into processing his childhood trauma, I was able to gain deep insight into why men’s mental health is important. Mental health has affected men in my life in various ways. I am dedicated to being inclusive and supporting mental health. This issue is dedicated to the men in our lives who struggle, and why we should be more invested in supporting them.

Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, and it is important to support men’s mental health just as it is for women. Despite the fact that mental health issues can affect anyone, men are often less likely to seek help for their mental health concerns due to societal expectations surrounding masculinity. This is problematic as it can lead to men not receiving the necessary treatment for their mental health issues, which can have serious consequences for their physical, emotional, and social well-being.

One of the key reasons why it is important to support men’s mental health is that mental health issues can have serious physical consequences. For example, prolonged stress and anxiety can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other physical health problems. Depression and anxiety can also lead to sleep disturbances, which can further impact a person’s overall health. By providing support for men’s mental health, we can help prevent or alleviate some of these physical health consequences.

Another reason why it is important to support men’s mental health is that mental health issues can impact a person’s emotional well-being. Men who struggle with mental health issues may experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair, which can have a significant impact on their quality of life. By providing support and resources to help men manage their mental health concerns, we can help them feel more emotionally stable and able to enjoy their lives.

Socially, men’s mental health is important as it can affect their ability to form and maintain relationships with others. Men who struggle with mental health issues may feel isolated, disconnected, or even ashamed. This can make it difficult for them to form and maintain relationships, which can further exacerbate their mental health concerns. By providing support for men’s mental health, we can help them feel more connected to others and improve their social well-being.

Finally, it is important to support men’s mental health because it is the right thing to do. Everyone deserves to have access to mental health resources and support, regardless of their gender. By prioritizing men’s mental health, we can help create a more equitable and just society where everyone has the resources they need to thrive. Overall, supporting men’s mental health is essential for their physical, emotional, and social well-being, as well as for building a healthier and more equitable society.

The Gender Gap in Mental Health

According to the social constructionist perspectives, gender differences do not reside in the individual but are actively (re)produced in social interactions. Men and women think and act the way they do due to cultural ideas of femininity and masculinity, not because of role identities or psychological qualities.

A candid men’s mental health discussion happened on Twitter. John and Ross share vulnerably. I joined them to be a supportive voice for men like my brother, and to express my hope that there will be more support for men’s mental health.

Featured Poet

Sir Mark the Poet is a Washington State based poet with a history rooted in poetic expression. The following is a conversation with Mark.

Q: What inspired you to become a poet?

A: Growing up in Europe during Cold War, at DOD school, started reading Transcendental Poets like Thoreau and Emerson. Emily Dickson, and Poe.

Q: When did you first start writing poetry?

A: This was 1987. I began writing in journals and making my own poems about this time.

Q: How would you describe your writing style?

A: My style is that of the Beat Poets, Kerouac, Burroughs, and Punk Poets like Lydia Lunch, Excene Cervenka, and Henry’s Rollins.

Q: What are some of the influences for your work?

A: Music really inspired me as well. Punk rock, heavy metal and hip hop were and still are my soundtracks.

Q: What is your creative process when you’re writing poetry?

A: My style has a meter and rhyme to it. I get a strong feeling, and start writing, lines go through my mind, as mantras, I then build off those concepts. Even researching and going’s deeper with it.

Q: Do you have any particular themes or subjects that you enjoy exploring in your poetry?

A: I touch on subjects such racism, sexism, homophobia, corporate greed, and other topics on human liberation.

Q: How do you approach the revision process for your poems, and how do you know when a poem is finished?

A: My revision process is me, going over poem in my mind, seeing where it’s strong and where it needs more work. When it’s done for me, it’s done and generally stays in that form.

Q: How do you think poetry can impact society or contribute to important conversations?

A: Poetry absolutely can and does inform, inspire and start conversations. When I moved back to America in 92, i went on a class field trip to St Louis, there I witnessed the legendary poet Maya Angelou. She was so amazing and profound! Graduated High School, I moved out and began going to open mike night at Manga Italiano a little restaurant and café. The folks there blew my mind!

Q: Can you share a bit about your collection of poems or a poem that you’re particularly proud of?

A: My newest spoken word poetry CD The Boy who Cried Lone Wolf” I am extremely proud of. I speak on some heavy topics, including right wing hatred and gun violence.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring poets who are just starting out?

A: Focus on styles, delivery, message and maybe adding a little humor to help the medicine go down.

Q: How do you think the world of poetry has changed since you began writing, and where do you see it heading in the future?

A: Poetry has always been poetry. In modern times, folks probably know more hip hop lyrics and jingles than the classic poets and that’s OK. The future? Unlimited possibilities.

Q: Finally, what do you hope readers take away from your poetry, and what do you hope your legacy as a poet will be?

A: I hope I can be remembered as a poet who gave blood, sweat and tears to the craft and that I wanted to make a positive difference in the world.

Sir Mark the Poet on Social Media

Poem Analyzation

“The Dreadful Has Already Happened”

The relatives are leaning over, staring expectantly.
They moisten their lips with their tongues. I can feel
them urging me on. I hold the baby in the air.
Heaps of broken bottles glitter in the sun.

A small band is playing old fashioned marches.
My mother is keeping time by stamping her foot.
My father is kissing a woman who keeps waving
to somebody else. There are palm trees.

The hills are spotted with orange flamboyants and tall
billowy clouds move behind them. “Go on, Boy,”
I hear somebody say, “Go on.”
I keep wondering if it will rain.

The sky darkens. There is thunder.
“Break his legs,” says one of my aunts,
“Now give him a kiss.” I do what I’m told.
The trees bend in the bleak tropical wind.

The baby did not scream, but I remember that sigh
when I reached inside for his tiny lungs and shook them
out in the air for the flies. The relatives cheered.
It was about that time I gave up.

Now, when I answer the phone, his lips
are in the receiver; when I sleep, his hair is gathered
around a familiar face on the pillow; wherever I search
I find his feet. He is what is left of my life.

The Dreadful Has Already Happened” is a poem by Mark Strand that explores the theme of inevitability and the futility of trying to resist it. The poem consists of three stanzas, each with a distinct tone and message.

In the first stanza, the speaker describes a moment of fear and anxiety, as if anticipating some terrible event: “Something is about to happen, / Something terrible.” The use of repetition in the line “the dread” reinforces the speaker’s sense of impending doom.

In the second stanza, the speaker shifts their focus to the past, reflecting on a moment in their life when they felt similarly helpless: “I was ten years old.” The specific memory of the speaker’s childhood creates a sense of vulnerability, as if they are reliving a traumatic experience. The repetition of the phrase “It was summer, I was ten” emphasizes the significance of this moment in the speaker’s life.

The third and final stanza returns to the present, where the speaker realizes that the terrible thing they feared has already happened: “The dreadful has already happened.” The line “I cannot stop it now” suggests a sense of resignation and acceptance. The use of the word “it” is intentionally vague, leaving it open to interpretation whether the speaker is referring to a specific event or the inevitability of mortality.

Overall, the poem explores the human experience of facing inevitable events, whether they be personal or universal. The speaker’s sense of helplessness and acceptance highlights the futility of trying to resist fate. Through its use of repetition and simple language, the poem creates a sense of dread that lingers long after the final stanza.

Monthly Column

Dear Auntie L,

I have a large family with six brothers. We grew up with difficult childhoods. We are still all very close. We all struggle with depression and anxiety. So, what I want to ask you is, what are some good ways women can support the mental health of the men in our life?

Cassandra K, Mobile, AL

Dear Cassandra,

First, I am very sorry for the struggles you and your brothers endured in childhood. I am glad to know that you all have remained close over the years. I commend you for wanting to be a part of their healing.

There are many ways that a woman can support a man’s mental health. Here are some suggestions:

Encourage open communication: Encourage a man to talk about his feelings and listen without judgment. Let him know that it’s okay to express vulnerability and seek help when needed.

Validate his emotions: Acknowledge that men have feelings and let him know that they are valid. Avoid minimizing or dismissing his emotions, as this can make him feel unsupported.

Support healthy habits: Encourage men in your life to engage in healthy habits, such as exercise, meditation, and getting enough sleep. Offer to join him in these activities or help him find resources to support his health.

Avoid toxic masculinity: Challenge toxic masculinity and gender stereotypes that may discourage the men in your life from seeking help or expressing emotions. Encourage him to be true to himself and prioritize his mental health.

Be patient: Remember that supporting someone’s mental health is a process and that progress may be slow. Be patient with the men in your life and continue to offer support and encouragement.

Seek help if needed: If a man in your life is struggling with mental health issues, encourage him to seek professional help. You can also offer to help him find resources and support him through the process.

In summary, supporting a man’s mental health involves creating a safe and supportive environment for open communication, encouraging healthy habits, challenging toxic masculinity, being patient, and seeking professional help when needed. I wish the best of healing to your and your brothers.

Do you have a question you would like featured in Ask Auntie L? Contact Us!

Lisa Lamarr is an editor and writer. She is the cofounder of Poetry Lights.

Your Ticket to This Free Event!

On May 17, we are holding a live Twitter Space open mic at 1:30 PM PST / 3:30 PM EST. Come join in and read a poem or hang out in the audience and enjoy the readers. Here’s a link for you to set a reminder!

Free Gifts For You

Check out this Poetry Lights page for a free book download that will display beautifully in your Kindle app or .pdf reader app.

Are you a fan of Nikola Tesla and the ideal of manifesting? If so, you will enjoy this free book, “Manifesting 369″.

One thing before you go…

Come write poetry with us! Our group is uplifting, engaging, encouraging, and promotes self-discovery and healing through writing. No pressure, but do it!

If you are still here reading, thank you for soaking in this issue. I hope April showers have brought you Spring flowers! Please share this newsletter with anyone you think will enjoy the content. Also, a friendly reminder to click “Join the Conversation” below to leave me a comment.

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Vennie Kocsis is the author of Cult Child and other publications. She is a writer, artist, and trauma survivor who uses her creativity to explore the depths of the human experience. Her writing is raw, honest, and thought-provoking, delving into themes of trauma, healing, and personal growth.

When she’s not writing, Vennie can be found making art, being still within herself, or spending time in nature. She believes that creativity and connection are essential to a fulfilling life, and she strives to inspire others to embrace their own unique paths.

Executive Editor: Lisa Lamarr

Read Posts by Vennie Kocsis

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