Academics / On Campus / Spring 2016

Healing Words & Healing Minds

Courtney Snodgrass ’17, is wasting no time in achieving her dreams of becoming an established writer and activist.

Using her two areas of study in tandem, the junior English and psychology major has published two poetry collections, writes commissioned pieces, is spending part of the year editing Mount Mercy’s Paha Review and is in the daunting process of starting a nonprofit to benefit area veterans.

Snodgrass was introduced to the idea of publishing by Associate Professor of English Carol Tyx, who influenced Snodgrass to submit her poetry to a contest Tyx herself had participated in.

But as determined as she is, Snodgrass found a different avenue of publication and withdrew her collection from the contest before receiving the results. Instead, Snodgrass self-published “Partially Whole”—a book that thrusts readers into a world of passion, love, loss and healing.

“Writing lets me feel,” Snodgrass said. “I love going back to older pieces and getting to the end of a poem or short story and having a physical reaction—my breath hitches or my stomach drops or a part of me jolts, and I always think, ‘wow, did I really write that?’”

Her more recent collection, “The Darkest Corner,” explores the torment of depression. “How dark can the mind truly get?” Snodgrass asks readers before they travel into the thoughts of a person who lives under the illness’ rule.

“Writing allows me to say whatever I want to say without having to speak the words aloud. It all circles back to the idea of expressing myself.”

Beyond self-expression, Snodgrass has written commissioned pieces— something she feels is a great honor. One piece was read at a funeral, another piece was written for a woman who was suffering the pain of multiple miscarriages.

“I love being able to create something for someone that’s going to help them heal. Poetry is a form of healing, for people and for myself.” — COURTNEY SNODGRASS

Recently Snodgrass was hired as a youth counselor at Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids, an organization that empowers children and families to achieve stability, self-sufficiency and permanency. She plans to earn her master’s degree in counseling with an eye to supporting the unique needs of veterans, while also working toward publishing the next great American Novel.

Find Snodgrass and her work at fb.me/courtneyksnodgrass

Written by Amanda Mayotte ’15

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