Shira Erlichman


Born in Israel, now living in Brooklyn, Shira Erlichman is an author, visual artist, and musician. Her poems explore recovery – of language, of home, of mind. Being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder a decade ago fundamentally changed her life and, wildly enough, deepened her love of being here. Her poetry book Odes to Lithium centers around her experiences with mental illness. Her picture book Be/Hold: A Friendship Book uses compound words to illuminate what is possible when we come together. Shira is the founder of Freer Form, a portable creativity school. She earned her BA at Hampshire College. She has been awarded the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, the James Merrill Fellowship by the Vermont Studio Center, the Visions of Wellbeing Focus Fellowship at AIR Serenbe, as well as a residency by the Millay Colony. She was a  Finalist for the Lambda Award and a Silver Medalist for the Nautilus Award. Her work has been featured in Buzzfeed Reader, The Rumpus, PBS NewsHour’s Poetry Series, The Huffington Post, The Seattle Times, and The New York Times, among others. Source


Blonde, chipper, & with a name like a cleaning solution

the young nurse catches my drool in a mini paper cup

as I spit out the meds, again. This is her third try. She sighs.

Only a few years older, Daveen grabs me under-the-armpits,

transports me to the chair, then wheels me to the room

at the hospital’s end. Someone/a stranger/everyone

is disappointed in me. Ten days later I’m released—is what

they call it. She breaks strict code to walk me through

the heavy doors to my car in the lot, lightly punches my shoulder

like a stepsister. I’m not just outside, I keep thinking, I’m Out.

With nothing to gain, Daveen pulls me in close. She’s hugging me

so tight, spots choke my vision. With all this concrete fog

in my head it’s hard to hold on to a sentence but she says

"I hope," she says "I never," says "see you," says "again."





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Health & Illness

Mental Health

Literary Devices:


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”