In September 2011 at a community poetry reading in Southold, three poets who were also social workers, therapists and women in long term recovery from substance abuse began a conversation about the connection between poetry, healing and community. Maggie Bloomfield, Nina Yavel and I presented our first reading at William Floyd Library in Greenport in January 2012, and then at the East End Clinical Connection.
The Poets of Well-Being
With insight, humor and compassion, these poets, who are also Licensed Clinical Social Workers in private practice in our community, bring a refreshing perspective on this human journey we all share, providing a rich experience of consciousness and well-being.—Description of program at William Floyd Library
In 2012 I edited The Poetry of Well-Being, a chapbook of our poems, which was privately published. We launched our chapbook with a reading at Canio’s Books & Cultural Café in Sag Harbor.
“We were delighted to host a reading at Canio's by Poets of Well-Being. Maggie Bloomfield, Susan Dingle and Nina Yavel each brought their considerable creative talents as poets and as compassionate professionals to the program. Their reading was not only informative and engaging, but moving. Their poems express passion about their work, their insights, and their hopes for a better future. These are concerned poets, women engaged with the broader community, but also speaking for the interior life, with grace, wisdom and lyricism."—Maryann Calendrille, Owner,
Canio’s Books & Cultural Cafe, Sag Harbor, New York
We were invited to present our work at Mental Health Awareness Day (for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Southampton Town), and offer workshops. As the Poets of Well-Being, we present our “Writing for Recovery” workshops at Long Island Center for Recovery twice a month since 2013, and receive outstanding evaluations from staff and residents.
Susan Dingle, Maggie Bloomfield, and Terri Muuss at AWP
Maggie Bloomfield, Nina Yavel, and Susan Dingle at Mental Health Awareness Day
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In our workshops newly sober people find their voices. This experience suggested the need for a safe and sober place where newly sober people could to share their writing with the community—an idea that later became Poetry Street. In 2015
I created two new workshops at LICR, for men and women separately, using writing to address trauma.
In 2014 Maggie and I decided to share our work with colleagues in the treatment field and in the literary world, while continuing to perform our personal stories in spoken word poetry. Nina was busy with doctoral research, so Maggie and I began to present with Terri Muuss, a performance poet and social worker, also in long term recovery.
In 2014 as the Poets of Well-Being, Maggie, Terri and I presented at the Expressive Therapies Summit in NYC, and in April 2015 at the Associated Writing Programs Conference in Minneapolis, where our panel was introduced by Julie Sheehan, Director of the MFA Program at SUNY Southampton.
We have also performed our stories in private salons and mounted a successful fund-raising campaign on social media to finance our travel to Minneapolis. In November 2015 we presented at the Expressive Therapies Summit, where we were acknowledged for having been initiated a focus on writing as a therapeutic modality.
The Poets of Well Being perform and feature at open mics. For further information follow us on Facebook at Poets of Well-Being.