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Diary of a Bipolar Explorer


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About the Author

Lucy Newlyn, a retired Professor at Oxford University, is Emeritus Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where she taught English for thirty-two years. She has published widely on English Romanticism (including four books with Oxford University Press) and is the author of two collections of poetry, Ginnel (Carcanet, 2005) and Earth's Almanac (Enitharmon, 2015). She is currently assembling a new poetry collection, and working on an edition of Edward Thomas's prose for OUP. She lives in Oxford and Cornwall. The author's royalties for this book will be donated to MIND.


'To a fellow bipolar explorer, much of -Newlyn's book rings both uncomfortably and comfortingly true. Rather than make any extravagant claim for the inherently artistic or creative constitution of sufferers, she meticulously lays out her methods of managing her disorder with the tools she has to hand, both [as] a poet and an academic': the gift of studious analysis, and the vocabulary of an inveterate reader, who finds apt parallels for the tricks of the mind in a well-thumbed mental library. She records 'bipolarity's role in stimulating creativity' without ever romanticizing it, or suggesting that it confers some form of doomed and glamorous genius, like a draught of Odin's mead.'--Times Literary Supplement; 'Diary of a Bipolar Explorer is a quirky, original and beautifully-written book that deserves a wide readership. Its account of day-to-day life with bipolar disorder will resonate with many sufferers and their friends. And its detailed and highly realistic account of an attempt to use poetry to manage a major mental health condition should be required reading for anyone working in the arts and mental health.' --Medical Humanities; 'Conveys the many varied shades of mental illness, and how walking, diary writing and particularly the intense effort of composing poetry often proved therapeutic.'--Times Higher Education Supplement; 'The abiding impressions here are the courage with which major -- even devastating --issues are faced, and the realisation that the feelings and sensations described are familiar as part of the pain of being human, if in an extreme form.. . . Lucy Newlyn has made an important contribution to the poetry of mental illness in English by her unflinching description of her experience.'--Bernard O'Donoghue, Oxford Magazine; 'This book is both useful and beautiful. . . . It's a direct, accessible, personal work for a wide audience concerned by mental illness, and in many cases with our own experiences, or those of loved ones, to bring to our reading. It's also unlike anything else I've read on this subject, full of a scholar's lucidity and acuity, a poet's lyricism and capacity to surprise and move.'--Shiny New Books; 'Lucy Newlyn's account of her bipolar disorder isn't a 'misery memoir', ready to clog railway station bookshop shelves with easy answers and monetisably manipulative content. Instead, her narrative hard-cuts reliable reportage into hallucinatory sections of paranoid delusion, pin sharp diary entries, hard won poetry, and sober reflective analysis. Newlyn doesn't flinch as she explores the relationship between bipolar disorder and exactly the kind of mindset that has made her a poet and a writer.'-Stewart Lee

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