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Friday, 29 May 2015

Migraine in poetry in the Hippocrates Prize

Migraine was the theme of two poems commended in Hippocrates NHS Awards and Poetry and Medicine announced by the judges on Friday May 22nd at an Awards Ceremony in London.

Sue Wood was commended in the Hippocrates NHS awards for A Herbal for Migraine and Eira Murphy was commended in the international Hippocrates Young Posts category for Migraine.

The Hippocrates Prize is an annual award with a closing date of 31st January.  At £5000 first prize both in the NHS category and the Open category,and £500 for the Young Poets Prize, this is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem.

Sue Wood works with the museums and galleries services as a workshop leader and runs The Creative Doctor as a module on Leeds University's medical degree. A poem from her collection was short-listed for Forward Best Single Poem and included in the Forward Anthology 2009. 

Sue said: "I wrote A Herbal for Migraine as a result of being both a gardener and a migraine sufferer.  I had read somewhere that St Theresa had also been a sufferer but interpreted her visual disturbance as a vision of  the new Jerusalem and so embraced the symptoms rather than taking an ancient herbal cure."

Eira Murphy is a young poet from Liverpool. She has previously been commended in The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. Regarding her poem Migraine, Eira is also a migraine sufferer and felt that poetry as a medium and said she was "best able to express the abstract hallucinations which form part of the way she views the world".  Eira was also commended for a poem inspired by examining a sketch of a womb by Leonardo Da Vinci which sparked her interest in the perception of the body and how the idea of birth changed throughout the years. 

Read more about all the winning poets in the Hippocrates Prize and listen to their readings.

Judge Rebecca Goss said: “The subject of medicine is sprawling and complex, but poetry is the perfect medium to explore it closely and aid our understanding of human experience at its most raw. A variety of voices make up the winning and commended entries in this year’s Hippocrates Prize.
Experiences of both medic and patient are explored, but so too, are the insights of the bystander. Included in this list are the carers, the relatives, the friends, revealing the impact illness also has on their lives."
Judge Theodore Dalrymple remarked: “Once again, the Hippocrates Prize has stimulated poets and health workers around the word to put their experiences of hope, despair, sadness, and compassion into poetic form, with impressive success."
Judge Professor Femi Oyebode said “I feel very privileged to be involved in the Hippocrates poetry prize. This experience has been most humbling."
He added: “The wondrous thing is to imagine that these are poems written by healthcare workers who, in their everyday work, deploy their technical expertise with emotional commitment and compassion, all over the world, in a variety of settings in order to care for people; and yet, in-between times, having observed the most extraordinary human situations of trauma, tragedy, hope, despair, death and suffering, find the words to communicate these with sensitivity, with original and unique images, and sometimes with humor.”  

Notes to editors
Photos of all finalists, along with biographies and extracts of their poems are available on request. Contact 07447 441666 or
Awards: In each category there are: 1st prize £5,000, 2nd prize £1,000, 3rd prize of £500, and further commendations each of £50.??The 2015 Hippocrates Anthology of winning and commended poems was launched at the Awards Ceremony in London on Friday 22nd May. 
The Hippocrates Prize judges
Rebecca Goss grew up in Suffolk. She returned to live in the county in 2013, after living in Liverpool for twenty years. Her first collection The Anatomy of Structures was published by Flambard Press in 2010. Her second collection, Her Birth (Carcanet/Northern House), was shortlisted for The 2013 Forward Prize for Best Collection and winner of the Poetry Category in The 2013 East Anglian Book Awards. In 2014 she was selected for The Poetry Book Society's Next Generation Poets. 
Femi Oyebode is Professor of Psychiatry University of Birmingham & Consultant  Psychiatrist National Centre for Mental Health Birmingham. His research interests include clinical psychopathology and medical humanities. His publications include Sims’ Symptoms in the Mind: textbook of descriptive psychopathology 5th edition (translated into Italian, Portuguese and Estonian); Mindreadings: literature and psychiatry; & Madness at the Theatre. 
He is a poet and his published works include Naked to your softness and other dreams; Forest of transformations; Master of the leopard hunt; Indigo, camwood and mahogany red; & Femi Oyebode: Selected poems (edited O. Okome). For a critical review of his poetry see Home and exile in Femi Oyebode’s poetry (edited Obododimma Oha).
Theodore Dalrymple is the pen name for Dr Anthony Daniels, who has worked as a doctor in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Gilbert Islands, London and Birmingham, most recently as a psychiatrist and prison doctor. His writing has appeared regularly in the press and in medical publications, including the British Medical Journal, the Times, Telegraph, Observer and the Spectator and he has published around 20 books, most recently Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality (2015).
Hippocrates Prize Organisers 
Professor Donald Singer is President of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine. His interests include research on discovery of new therapies, and public understanding of drugs, health and disease. He co-authors Pocket Prescriber, the 8th edition of which is published by Taylor & Francis in the summer of 2015. 
Professor Michael Hulse is a poet and translator of German literature, and teaches creative writing and comparative literature at the University of Warwick. He is also editor of The Warwick Review. His latest book of poems, Half-Life (2013), was named a Book of the Year by John Kinsella.
2015 Hippocrates Prize support
The Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, a national medical society founded in 1918 and publisher of the Postgraduate Medical Journal and Health Policy and Technology.
The Cardiovascular Research Trust, a charity founded in 1996, which promotes research and education for the prevention and treatment of disorders of the heart and circulation.

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