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Poetry embodies the human spirit,

communicates the sacred,

transcends cultures, generations, languages, time…

The power of poetry lies in its ability

…. to ignite curiosity and encourage openness;

… to spark dialogue;

… to connect and energise;

… to offer peace;

… to facilitate self reflection, self revelation

and problem solving;

… to distill human experience

… and ultimately, to plant hope…

A few words about poetry for wellbeing

“…there is something fundamentally different about writing down your understanding of, and reaction to, a situation.”

Foreword, Reflective Practice
Gillie Bolton

"… [P]oetry has the power to start a fire in a person’s life. It can alter the way we see ourselves. It can change the way we see the world. … and welcome us into a bigger world, one of possibilities we may never have dared to dream of."

“Why Poetry Is Necessary”
Huffington Post

“…That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free.”

The Story of My Life
Helen Keller
The experience of poetry – with its potential for joy, musicality and humour – began for many, in early childhood, with the reading of picture books and bedtime stories, as an act of social and emotional connection.
In our 21st century time-poor lives, poetry – as a path to self-care and well-being – allows us to momentarily stop, breathe, observe, process and resolve. An act of creative and intentional mindfulness, an efficient, concise and highly accessible format, requiring no special skill beyond curiosity and the desire to practise self-care, to give voice to one’s heart; a gentle but powerful process of reflection on self and other. It liberates. With poetry for well-being, the rules are not about grammar, punctuation or poetic devices even, but about emotional safety: Be self-aware, be self-compassionate and don’t force the pen!

About your facilitator

Ms Nicki Cassimatis

Nicki Cassimatis completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Queensland, in 1991, majoring in languages and linguistics. This was followed by a Diploma in Education. Over two decades, she has taught in primary and high schools as both a language specialist and as a volunteer pastoral care teacher. She has also held various paid and volunteer community roles. She holds current teaching registration (Queensland) and a Graduate Certificate in Mental Health (UQ). She is a member of Lapidus International, the Qld Writers’ Centre, Australian Poetry Ltd and affiliate member of ANZACATA, the professional body for arts therapists in Australia and New Zealand and participated in the ECRN Arts Health Research Intensive in Suffolk, UK in 2019.
In 2012, during a severe bout of depression and anxiety and unable to work, Nicki instinctively turned to writing poetry in an attempt to find healing and meaning in her suffering, to find her ‘inner voice’, process her pain, and reclaim her joy, hope and peace. She personally experienced the transformational power of poetry before serendipitously stumbling on the work of Gillie Bolton, pioneer researcher of therapeutic writing from the UK.
In April 2016, her first chapbook – a collection of 14 poems and the fruits of her healing journey – was published by Ginninderra Press under her pseudonym.  Poem number 8, her “Letter to Anxiety”, featured in her TED talk and was a major turning point in her recovery.  She has since published another 2 chapbooks and continues to share her original poetry as often as the opportunity presents itself.

Nicki’s workshops are multi-sensory, with a focus on aesthetics and beauty as inspiration for the written word and nourishment for the soul. Her audience has included professionals at numerous national and international conferences as well as school and community settings. She continues to promote the healing power of the written word and spoken word as a path to creative well-being and healing at every opportunity and regularly participates in online poetry readings and workshops. She is also co-founder of Createplace: Storytelling & Arts for Health, collaborating with like-minded colleagues to broaden the scope of the field of therapeutic writing.

Nicki also creates poetry art using her original poems and exhibited for the first time in 2016. When not working, or thinking about work, she finds immense pleasure in travelling, meeting new people, walking in the garden, photography, cooking, reading, writing, offering hospitality and cherishing time with loved ones. She is based in Brisbane and has four grown children and one Louis, their much-loved Kelpie-cross.

Nicki Cassimatis