Judges of the 2019 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Awards in the Hippocrates Prize are for an unpublished poem in English of up to 50 lines on a medical theme by entrants from anywhere in the world. Previous winners have come from Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

There are 3 categories in the Hippocrates Prize, all international.

The Hippocrates Open Prize for Poetry and Medicine

The Hippocrates Health Professional Prize for Poetry and Medicine

- The Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Jennifer Clement will be poet judge on the judging panel for the 2019 Hippocrates international Open and Health Professional awards for poetry and medicine. Elizabeth Smither will judge the Hippocrates international Young Poet Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Jennifer Clement

Jennifer Clement studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and also studied French literature in Paris, France. She has an MFA in fiction  from the Stonecoast MFA program at USM.

Jennifer Clement is the President of PEN International and the first woman to be elected since the organization was founded in 1921.

Clement has published of four books of poetry including The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin). She is the author four novels: Prayers for the Stolen, A True Story Based on Lies, The Poison That Fascinates and Gun Love. Prayers for the Stolen was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice Book, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, winner of the Gran Prix des Lectrices Lyceenes de ELLE 2015, an NEA Fellowship and the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award. The novel appeared internationally on many “Best Books of the Year” lists, including The Irish Times. Clement was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her novel Gun Love. She   Clement’s books have been translated into 30 languages.

Jennifer Clement wrote the acclaimed memoir Widow Basquiat on New York City in the early 1980’s and the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. Glenn O’Brien in Artforum described this work as, "Magical . . . The life of Basquiat . . . is a joyous lightning bolt when it is described in true detail, as it is in Clement’s extraordinary as-told-to poem."  NPR rated it one of the best books of 2015 in seven different categories.

From 2009 to 2012, Clement was president of PEN Mexico and her work focused on the disappearance and killing of journalists. She and her sister, Barbara Sibley, are the founders and directors of the San Miguel Poetry Week. Clement lives in Mexico City and is a member of Mexico’s prestigious “Sistema Nacional de Creadores”.


Elizabeth Smither

Elizabeth Smither is a poet, novelist and short story writer. Her numerous collections of poetry have been published alongside several novels and short story collections. Her poetic style is considered idiosyncratic while it moves beyond the self-referential into the areas of legendary characters, Catholicism and the workings of language itself. Of her poems she writes, ‘you have to use all your senses to crack them open.’ 

In 2018, Smither's collection Night Horse won the poetry category of the 50th Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Elizabeth Smither was named the 2002 Te Mata Poet Laureate. Amongst other awards, she has received the Scholarship in Letters in 1987 and 1992, and A Pattern of Marching won the Poetry Section of the 1990 New Zealand Book Awards.

She has published twelve collections of poems: Here Come the Clouds (1975); You’re Very Seductive William Carlos Williams (1978); The Sarah Train (1980); The Legend of Marcello Mastroianni’s wife (1981); Casanova’s Ankle (1981); Shakespeare Virgins (1983); Professor Musgrove’s Canary (1986); Gorilla/ Guerilla (1986); Animaux (1988); A Pattern of Marching (1989); A Cortège of Daughters (1993); The Tudor Style: Poems New and Selected (1993). There have also been two novels, First Blood (1983) and Brother-love Sister-love (1986); two collections of short stories, Nights at the Embassy (1990) and Mr Fish (1994); a book for children, Tug Brothers (1983); an edition of her journals, The Journal Box (1996); and co-edited with David *Hill The Seventies Connection (1987).

Smither’s first collection, Here Come the Clouds, published in her mid-30s, at once established her distinctive, even idiosyncratic, poetic manner. The short poem, usually but not always unrhymed, witty, stylish and intellectually curious, has remained her forte, although ‘To Hugh a friend flying to London November 30 DC 10’, a 600-line poem in Professor Musgrove’s Canary, successfully transcends the ordinary limits of her miniaturist technique. As the titles of her collections suggest, literary and legendary figures often provide starting points for poems, a number of which are also characterised by a strong interest in Catholicism. In addition to more perennial subjects, her poetry, though never merely self-referential, celebrates the slipperiness and paradoxical nature of language. She has remarked that the poets she most admires are ‘tough’, citing as examples Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, e. e. cummings, Elizabeth Bishop, William Empson and John Berryman: ‘They don’t pull any punches; they’re like Humphrey Bogart. You have to use all your senses to crack them open.’ The same comment applies to the best of her own work.

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