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Friday, 22 July 2011

Favourite poems on a medical theme - 2012

To mark the launch of the 2012 International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, the organisers invited nominations of favourite poems with a medical theme.

'Medical' were to be interpreted in the broadest sense. Anyone in the world may nominate a poem. Nominations were to be for poems written by a poet from anywhere in the world and in any language. The poem could be contemporary or from any historical period.

When  a favourite poem on a medical theme was nominated, there was the option to add a comment about why you liked the poem and the poet.

Here are some examples of comments received:
On 'Patience Strong' by UA Fanthorpe: 'Here writes a poet about a poet, and about a lesson learnt from a gentleman living with epilepsy. Ursula Fanthorpe was a champion of the underdog, this poem is an epitome of both insight and humility and offers lessons to us all'.
On 'Hospital Waiting Room' by WH Davies: 'I love this poem. It was written in the early days of the NHS and is a fascinating look at class in British society from someone who put himself outside of it.'
On "The Pathology of Colours' by Dannie Abse: 'Abse is a master at combining the every day earthy detail with the mystical. He brings the world of medicine into the world of poetry in a way that speaks to all of us'.
On 'Seven Ages of Man' by William Shakespeare: 'A cameo of the whole of life from birth to frail, unknowing 'second childishness'.'
The top 10 entries will be included in an international Anthology on Poetry and Medicine to be published in 2012 by the Hippocrates Press.   

Dannie Abse - Song for Pythagoras and  The Pathology of Colours  
Joë Bousquet
- La pupille (… the half-opening of the swallow’s nest …) La Connaissance du Soir, 1947, Gallimard
Simon Bridges - Tomorrows  
Constantine Petrou Cavafy - The death of the Emperor Tacitus
Blaise Cendrars - Le ventre de ma mère [My mother's womb]
John Donne - No man is an island
   UA Fanthorpe - Patience Strong
Thom Gunn - In time of plague
Oliver Wendell Holmes - The morning visit
Jane Hirshfield - What binds us 
Victor Hugo -  Les feuilles d'Automne -  Ce siècle avait deux ans! [Autumn leaves - This century was 2 years old]
John Keats - Ode to a nightingale [... where palsy shakes a few, sad, last, gray hairs...]
Philip Larkin - Ambulances
Federico Garcia Lorca - El Lagarto Viejo (The Old Lizard
Stéphane Mallarmé: Le tombeau de Charles Baudelaire
Katherine Mansfield - A day in bed
Roger McGough - Wisdom Teeth Czeslaw Milosz - So little
John Milton – On his blindness
 and  Lycidas
Merrill Moore - The noise that time makes    
Thomas Nashe - A litany in time of plague      
Pablo Neruda - Oda ala tristeza (Ode to sadness)

Sylvia Plath - The companionable ills
Anna Piutti – Current
Peter Porter - A Chagall postcard
Peter Reading - C
Adrienne Rich – Power
William Shakespeare - Seven ages of man   [As you like it 2.3.139-167] 

Jo Shapcott - Hairless and  Of mutability
Stevie Smith - Not waving but drowning
Robert Louis Stevenson - The land of counterpane
Heather Wastie - Ping pong neonatal ICU    
William Carlos Williams - The last words of my English grandmother     
William Butler Yeats - When you are old  

The Hippocrates Prize is one of the highest value awards in the world for an unpublished poem in English on a medical theme. 

2012 Awards were presented by the judges at the close of the 3rd International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine on Saturday 12th May at the Wellcome Collection Rooms.