NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Poetry Program
Poetry is an expression of the soul as unique as every individual who puts the pen to paper. We at NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Network maintain that any creative expression of an individual is a poem whether it rhymes or not; whether it is one word or pages long.
Program Contact: Jacquese Armstrong, Coordinator of NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Network, at [email protected].
NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Mental Health Poetry Contest
April is the National Poetry Month and May is Mental Health Awareness Month. NAMI NJ inaugurated the Annual NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Mental Health Poetry Contest in 2014, which has grown to be a well-loved public event with enthusiastic responses from NJ’s diverse communities each year. The 2023 Mental Health Poetry Contest voting has commenced! Click here to view the Top 10 poems and help us pick the Top 3.
After each spring, poems submitted for the annual NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Mental Health Poetry Contest will be showcased here in the Poetry Corner. We hope these poems touch you, too.
The drab Beauty – Sharon Ivanasuskas
Free – Lisa Marie Bettencourt
The Mirror – James Holmes
SEE Me, HEAR ME, and Don’t judge me………… – Nicole Jordan
Stigma of Mental Illness: The Lack of Understanding of the Concepts of its Conditions – Daniel William Dolson
Virtual Poetry Workshops
In some seasons, our Expressive Arts Network Coordinator, Jacquese Armstrong, holds virtual poetry workshops where a theme is given for that season and community poets share their work. Jacquese is a poet/writer/inspirational speaker and has been a NAMI NJ volunteer for over a decade. Her work has been published in Black Magnolias Literary Journal, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Blackberry: a magazine, SZ Magazine, Anchor Magazine and BlackMentalHealthNet.com. She earned her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Toledo, Ohio.
During this time of extreme uncertainty in our world, in which we are just arising from our respective quarantines, as poets let us take some time to reflect upon this in any way we should see fit. We would like to post your response pieces on this page. However, the window for these submissions is only open until August 15, 2020. As always, your host has provided a sample poem from one of her responses to the pandemic, home-grown conspiracies, that you can view here. Also, we have a submission by Caitlin C. Regan, Hiding, that you can view here. So, send us your reaction to your COVID quarantine times or your reflections on those times in general and don’t forget to get them in before August 15.
Previous Virtual Workshop Poems:
Winter 2019 theme – “e-merge“
e-merge – by Jacquese Armstrong
Winter Blue – by Nicole Jordan
Fall 2018 theme – “Nature“
Autumn Leaves – by Jeff Varanyak
Rise – by Kathy Lash
Sunflowers – by Ayesha Karim
Spring 2017 theme – “Remembrance“
“dear grandmommy.” – by Jacquese Armstrong
“Barbara” – by Jeff Varanyak
“For the Lost” – by Melissa Kiritsis
“The Way I Will Be Remembered To Be a poem” – by Ayesha Karim
Winter 2016 theme – “Holiday“
“pictures of Christmas” – by Jacquese Armstrong
“Christmas” – by Ron Cassmassine
“Untitled” – by Kelly Brennan
Summer 2016 theme – “in our own voice“
in my own voice (walkin in my shoes) – by Jacquese Armstrong
i carry the ‘m’ card ( i didn’t deal the deck) – by Jacquese Armstrong
Stigma – by Ben Hu
Summer 2015 theme – “gratitude attitude“
A NEW DAY DAWNS – by Sandy G.
Gratitude Poem – by Taylor Bak
Lead by Spirit – by Michael Loberfeld