A pair of North Herts writers bring mental health to the forefront in their debut collections of poetry

Rosa Cives from Ardeley uses poetry to raise awareness of social issues and gives voices to those of

Rosa Cives from Ardeley uses poetry to raise awareness of social issues and gives voices to those often unheard in society. - Credit: Archant

It’s often said that everyone has a book in them, and here are two North Herts women to prove the point – because both have had their debut collections of poetry published.

Rosa Cives's book of poetry, Crack On.

Rosa Cives's book of poetry, Crack On. - Credit: Archant

Crack On, the name Rosa Cives has given to her work, brings unheard voices into the spotlight in a bid to tackle social issues including drug addiction and abuse.

She said: “I feel that my collection of poems is unique because I have given ‘real’ people a voice and an opportunity to have their words translated for an audience to hear in a concise but effective manner using powerful yet honest language.”

Linguistic consultant Rosa, who has previously worked in the criminal justice system, added: “The book took me about four to five months to write, it got to the stage where it was ready to emerge so it just all came out in a big splurge – I started writing and couldn’t stop myself.”

Commenting on the title, Rosa, who lives with her husband and daughter in Ardeley, said: “I think it’s the idea of cracking on with whatever you’ve got to deal with.”

Julie Cuthbert credits her work with helping her to cope in her darkest moments suffering with depre

Julie Cuthbert credits her work with helping her to cope in her darkest moments suffering with depression. - Credit: Archant

The striking front cover was also created by Rosa – the artwork was exhibited last year at a London gallery to raise £500 for charity YoungMinds.

Codicote’s Julie Cuthbert credits her poetry with helping her work through a decade of suffering with severe depression.

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The book, Changing More Than Our Spots, chronicles her journey from her darkest moments to a more hopeful resolution.

The 54-year-old said: “The mental health care I received wasn’t very good, so I started writing letters and poetry as well as seeing a therapist.

Julie Cuthbert's book, Changing More Than Our Spots.

Julie Cuthbert's book, Changing More Than Our Spots. - Credit: Archant

“I showed my work to my therapist and he said it was fantastic.”

Julie’s vulnerability is cast in her work as her inner child, and her anger about how she’s feeling is referred to as ‘the Tiger’.

She said: “I had notebook after notebook of things written down, letters and poems, and that became the book.

“I would say it became the main thing that helped me through my depression.”

Both books are available to order on Amazon or from publisher Austin Macauley, click here to check out Julie’s book, and here for Rosa’s.

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