Much of what Rika Lesser has to say can be compared to the poetry of Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Ann Sexton, Delmore Schwartz, and other poets who have struggled with manic-depressive illness. What sets her poetry apart, according to Richard Howard, is "the plot and purpose of her sequence to take us through the harrowing experiences she creates in her lines, and out the other side . . . this is where her book differs so from the sensational indulgences we are so familiar with."
The book begins with poems on suicide attempts, clinical depression and mania which will attract readers with a special interest in "poetic madness." But in the end the poet turns from death to a full engagement and participation in "normal life" and all that it entails.
In addition to the general poetry audience, this book will appeal to medical ethicists, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and others needing insight into manic-depressive illnesses.
"Lesser leads her readers on an exploration of mental health that is less a descent into madness than a journey towards emotional health . . . [her] poems are direct, reflective and instructive."—Publisher's Weekly