This collection of contemporary poems published by the National Association for Poetry Therapy Foundation is accompanied by an introduction and materials for use in support groups and poetry therapy groups dealing with loss and grief. Organized under the rubric, “Seasons of the Heart,” in sections entitled “Autumn,” “Winter,” and “Spring,” they reflect a range of responses to loss, both sudden and gradual.

Poets include Rainer Maria Rilke, Naomi Shihab Nye, Billy Collins, William Stafford, Denise Levertov, and other well-known and widely anthologized poets as well as some less known, but well worth reading. The poetry is skillfully selected, of consistent literary quality, and the accompanying materials helpful in suggesting ways and reasons to enter into the work of reading and writing poetry in time of loss.


The explicit therapeutic purpose of this work frames the poetry very much in terms of the Foundation’s and the editors’ purposes. In that sense it is openly didactic, and a useful example of how “poetry therapy” can work toward healing—personal, and interpersonal—and provide solace during a loved one’s or one’s own dying. It is a modest length; it would not overwhelm those coming tentatively to poetry, but would also not disappoint experienced readers of poetry looking for poems with this focus.


Order from National Association for Poetry Therapy Foundation, 733 15th Street NW. Suite 330, Washington, DC 20005. Web site:


National Association for Poetry Therapy Foundation

Place Published

Washington, D.C.




Karen vanMeenan & Charles Rossiter

Page Count