Hello, I am a marital therapist, communications trainer and author. I have thirty-five years helping couples and individuals make better relationships. I have written twenty-plus self-help books which include the international best-sellers ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ and ‘How can I ever trust you again?’ My books have been translated into twenty languages. I trained with RELATE the UK’s largest counselling charity. Perhaps it has been turning sixty but I have become interested in spiritual as well as psychological questions. Who am I? What are my values – as opposed to my parents, my teachers and the wider society? What makes my life meaningful? What do I believe about life, the universe and everything? Although my clients might come to me because of destructive arguments, falling out of love and infidelity, they are also interested in having more meaningful relationships and a more meaningful life. So what is the meaningful life? Why do we so easily lose our way and get lost in depression, anxiety, doubt, addictions and obsessions: the swamplands of the soul? One thing I know for sure is that there is not one answer. Each of us has to find out for ourselves what makes our life meaningful. But we can learn from each other, share our experiences of how to navigate the journey, how to endure and learn from the swamp, and finally how to find solid ground. I have decided to use my original training in radio and journalism to interview witnesses for what makes life meaningful. Each week, I invite someone who is a therapist, academic, self-help coach or who has an enlightening personal story to share their knowledge or experiences. I hope our discussions will help you discover what makes your life meaningful and find more purpose and contentment.
Monday Oct 25, 2021
Monday Oct 25, 2021
Your last encounter with a poem may well have taken place in a grim classroom, perhaps a painful dissection of WB Yeats or Matthew Arnold.
Poetry can be something entirely different, however, and prize-winning poet John McCullough gives us poetry that is a source of joy, mindfulness and sheer fun.
John McCullough “guides us through a world of déjà vu, doubt and rapture” (Helen Mort). His poetry gives us “fresh insight into vulnerability and suffering”, according to the judges of the Costa Poetry Award. His poems reference Kate Bush, Lady Gaga, birdlife, Grindr and My Little Pony, while exploring love, loneliness and issues like homelessness and homophobia.
In this episode Andrew and John talk about the ways poetry can make your life richer, deeper and more meaningful. Poetry helps us live in the moment, it offers a rest from relentless rational thinking and it helps us to process our experiences and make sense of them.
John McCullough's latest book of poems, Reckless Paper Birds, won the 2020 Hawthornden Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. He has also won the Polari First Book Prize and his collections have been named Books of the Year in The Independent, The Guardian and The Observer. He is featured regularly in magazines such as Poetry London, Poetry Review and The New Statesman. Most recently, his poem 'Flower of Sulphur' was shortlisted for the 2021 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. John lives in Hove with his partner and two cats, and teaches creative writing at the Open University and the University of Brighton.
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Read Reckless Paper Birds, John McCullough’s Hawthornden Prize winning collection.
Find out about John McCullough’s other books.
Get Andrew’s advice on creating change in your life and relationships in his book Wake Up and Change Your Life: How to Survive a Crisis and Be Stronger, Wiser and Happier.
Listen to Andrew’s interview with author Josh Cohen on “How to Live: What You Can Learn From Your Favourite Literary Character”.