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Harnessing Darkness: Expressing Mental Illness Through Poetry

4.79  ·  Rating details ·  14 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Harnessing Darkness traces the struggle of living with mental illness. Through sections aptly titled Birth, Life, Death, and Rebirth, Caleb Woods gives readers the experience of what it’s like to live in the mind of someone who struggles with a roller coaster of emotions on a daily basis. Caleb chooses to open the doors of his mind, allowing you to see not only the dark, b ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published July 5th 2019 by Caleb Woods
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Nikki Stafford
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not much of a poetry reader—of all the kinds of literature I love, I've always found poetry to be largely impenetrable—except when the poetry involves something that interests me. And because of various family members who suffer from mental illnesses, I picked up this book, and WOW, am I ever glad I did. Caleb Woods has written a searingly honest book about growing up gay in the South in a very Christian home, while describing the depression and anxiety he dealt with in such a painfully true ...more
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My brother Caleb speaks the truth and he touches my very soul. I deal with Depression on a daily basis personally and professionally. As a former USAF Chaplain, his words speak to my heart and to the hearts of those whom I have walked along side of and to those who have lost the battle agains the darkness. Thank you Caleb, for speaking to my heart of darkness, light, and hope. This book of verse is so much more than a book of poetry! Everyone needs to read this and soak it in. You never know whe ...more
Leanne Holcomb
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Caleb beautifully and expertly draws us into his world and shows us that it is possible to struggle with the debilitating grip of mental illness and still live a meaningful, love-filled life. To not only recognize your most terrifying demons but to call them out into the light and name them. His brutal honesty and bravery in revealing the dark shadows of his tortured soul is to be highly commended. This book is a light in the window for those of us who have ever battled and felt all alone with o ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Having followed Caleb’s political and human rights commentary online for years, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this. I’m not good at reviews of any kind, but I enjoyed this immensely. I think if you are a fan of Plath or Duras, you should check it out. Some favorites: Left out in the cold, As long as we live, Blip, A formation of Atoms. I enjoy cathartic poetry.
Teresa Roberts
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having struggled with depression myself, I found this book to be deeply inspiring and relatable. The prose is sharp, illustrating the pain that mental anguish inflicts. This is an important book, facing the society of today. I believe that the vulnerability of the author to submit this work to a population that needs it is exactly what we need for any real connection and healing to take place.
Amy Allen
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Caleb, in Harnessing Darkness, gives you but a snip-it of the challenges he has faced in his young life living with mental illness and growing up gay in the heart of the Bible Belt. He cleverly walks the reader through the hills and valleys of his life as if you are buckled in the seat beside him “along for the ride”. Just when you think hopefulness is on the horizon for this beloved author; you quickly realize through this genius conglomeration of poetry that shines a light on various sections ...more
Vivian Pitts
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Breath-taking, emotional and so raw with human emotions.
Caleb’s poetry takes us into the minds of humans with mental illness. My eyes have been opened and my heart breaks for anyone who suffers with any kind of mental illness...Caleb’s writing is so powerful it’s hard to put the book down you want to keep reading. Thank you Caleb Woods and I hope there is another book on the way.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emotional, Raw, Heartbreaking...A story through poetry that needs to be shared...Thank you Caleb Woods for sharing your story with the world. Your words took my breath more than once...anyone who has struggled or knows someone who has struggled with mental illness, this book is an eye opener a must read.
Reader Views
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (01/2020)

What hooked me when I picked up “Harnessing Darkness: Expressing Mental Illness through Poetry” by Caleb Woods was the title. We all have a dark side, but how can you control darkness? Woods presents us with a poetic collection of his thoughts, emotions, and experiences in his struggle with mental illness, and growing up gay in America’s bible belt. “Harnessing Darkness” consists of four sections: Birth, Life, Death, Rebirth. His poems are wri
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the privilege of meeting Caleb at his book signing at Barnes & Noble in NYC. After hearing his story, his bravery inspired me and I knew I had to take his book home. Each section of the book takes a heartbreaking look at the trauma a person endures. There were moments when I simply had to put the book down and walk away to truly absorb the poems. The poetry is stunning, telling a series of stories along the way. As a person who struggles with mental illness, I found this book to be refresh ...more
Caleb Woods
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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