The Glass Asylum


by Geoff Prince

ISBN 978-1-875934-53-9
76 Pages
Price: AUS$18.70 (GST inc)

With the de-institutionalisation of mental illness and the growing incidence of mental illness in the community, we are all touched by insanity. The community itself is the asylum, a Glass Asylum, where insight and wisdom as well as madness crosses all bounds.

I had in mind with this compilation the notion of the 'glass ceiling' and the title of another book, The Glass Menagerie. As a seeker of sanity in a de-institutionalised state, I have found my title to ring true to the experience that follows from my condition. While we can look out on society with a degree of impunity, society peers in at us. We become our own public relations managers as well as sufferers of what Michel Foucault called 'The Gaze'. Though we do not dwell in a panopticon (the incarceration that utilised The Gaze, invented by Jeremy Bentham), it is possible for seekers of sanity to live a full, rich public life to which I am committed. We are able to boast not only the company of 'fools' (sacred or otherwise) but also friends, relatives and the wider community which sufferers of mental illness in the past were denied.

The Glass Asylum and Other Poems reflects the variety of experiences felt whilst carrying a label. Manning Clark hinted to the author, 'The problem with this type of poetry lies in bringing a private face to a public place'. As this is my third book of poetry, I feel I have developed an audience for my fellow writers and myself, and I extend a welcome to all new readers. I hope you will find not only some method in my madness but also echoes of life on 'The Other Side, where the eternal other throws strange light on what we have come to accept as "normal"'.

Geoff Prince