Writing, Health & Wellbeing – Poetry on Prescription

Poetry on Prescription: Emergency Poet & Poetry Pharmacy

With the recent development of Arts on Prescription, the notion of prescribing creativity and culture for health and wellbeing is gathering momentum.  An established frontrunner in this area is Deborah Alma, aka The Emergency Poet.

An acclaimed poet herself, Deborah is also editor of numerous anthologies aimed at reducing stress, promoting wellbeing and connecting to nature. In her guise as Emergency Poet, she gives consultations on location from a vintage ambulance, where she prescribes a poem tailored to each patient’s ailments. Now, she is opening a Poetry Pharmacy in Bishop’s Castle, based in an old shop packed to the rafters with character, heritage and authentic props.

In a similar format to Deborah’s 2016 anthology ‘The Everyday Poet’, the pharmacy will be divided into sections that address different areas of ’emotional need’, such as love, ageing, grief and hope. The pharmacy will also house a children’s section, consulting room, cafe, and a large space for hosting writing retreats, workshops and performances.

Deborah says;

Poetry can talk intimately, as though from one person to another. It can be a point of understanding yourself, your mental health, where you are at that particular moment. It can be a sense that somebody has been there before you, and has come through it, and can be hopeful. A poem can take you somewhere else. It can alter a mood in a profound way.

The Pharmacy recently attracted more than £15k of support through a Kickstarter campaign, and is preparing to open doors officially in the autumn. You can get a sneak preview of the Poetry Pharmacy on National Writing Day, in this special event:

The Poetry Pharmacy – Abandoned Space

Weds 26th June 2019 | 10am-1pm | High Street, Bishop’s Castle, SY9 5BQ

‘As part of our project in bringing the Poetry Pharmacy to life, we would like to invite people to spend a bit of time with us and to respond creatively to the space we are making here.

On National Writing Day, the premises will be at a transitional point in its clearance and restoration. Facilitated by poet James Sheard and with time to look around properly and talk about what you see and feel, we hope to generate some pieces of writing in a rolling drop-in workshop. The results will become part of the record of our project, as well as, hopefully, giving you some new work.’

To find out more about this event, click here.

To find out more about Emergency Poet and the Poetry Pharmacy, click here.


Take part on 26th June 2019:

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National Writing Day is led by First Story and partners across the UK.