The Health of Poetry

From Clare Pollard



I was honoured to present the first Hippocrates Young Poets Award on Saturday, for a poem on a medical subject, to 17-year old Rosalind Jana for a brave, beautiful piece about her treatment for scoliosis of the spine. The award, sponsored by NAWE, was part of an International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine at the Wellcome Centre, organized by Donald Singer and Michael Hulse, and came at the end of an inspiring afternoon.

I started with a quick look around the Wellcome’s brilliant ‘Souzou’ exhibition of Japanese outsider art, created by artists within social welfare facilities (which includes such joyous objects as Shota Katsube’s army of action figures made from the sparkly, multi-coloured twist-ties used for bin-liners; Sakiko Kono’s dolls representing staff who had been kind to her and Takahiro Shimoda’s ‘Fried Chicken Pyjamas’). And then at the conference I heard Cheryl Moskowitz talk about poetry and dementia, Andrew Mcmillan…

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