Previous Symposia Programmes

Saturday 18th May 2013
Symposium and Hippocrates Awards venue: Henry Wellcome Lecture Theatre,
Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2B

2013 Symposium Faculty

Theodore Dalrymple (Doctor and writer; 2013 Hippocrates Prize Judging Panel); Michael Hulse (Speaker and Chair; Writing Programme, Warwick):Roger Highfield (Director of External Affairs, Science Museum Group, London: 2013 Hippocrates Prize Judging Panel); Anne Hudson Jones (Speaker: Harris L Kempner Professor in Humanities in Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston); Andrew McMillan (Speaker: Liverpool); Hugues Marchal (Speaker: Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature, Basel University, Switzerland); Femi Oyebode (Chair: Professor of Psychiatry, University of Birmingham); Jo Shapcott (Poet, Royal Holloway College, London; 2013 Hippocrates Prize Judging Panel); Donald Singer (Speaker and Chair; Warwick Medical School).

2012 Hippocrates Awards for poetry and medicine

were announced at the 2012 Symposium by judges:

2012 Symposium Faculty includes:

Rod Flower FRS (2012 Hippocrates Prize Judging Panel), Dean Gianakos (Lynchburg, Virginia, USA), Sorcha Gunne (Warwick), Marilyn Hacker (Poet and Critic, New York & Paris; 2012 Hippocrates Prize Judging Panel), Michael Hulse (Writing Programme, Warwick), Edward Picot (Kent), Robert Randolph (Carmichaels, Pennsylvania, USA), Jo Shapcott (Poet, Royal Holloway College, London), Donald Singer (Warwick Medical School), Eleni Theocharous MEP (Poet and Paediatric Surgeon, Cyprus), John Riddington Young (William Harvey in poetry - ENT Surgeon, West Barton, Bideford).

09.10 Introduction

Donald Singer and Michael Hulse, University of Warwick

Medical themes in poetry (1)

Medicine and Health in Medieval Arabic Poetry

Rabie E Abdel-Halim, Liverpool

The concept of Syphilis in Greek poetry: retracing unique perspectives
Antonis A. Kousoulis, University of Athens, Greece

De Motu Cordis. Allusions to Poetry in the Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood
John Riddington Young, Bideford, Devon

10.20 Question and Answer Session

10.40 Coffee and Posters

Medical themes in poetry (2)

Pure poetry, 19th century notions of hygiene, Charles Baudelaire, and Stéphane Mallarmé
Jens Lohfert Jørgensen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Contemporary English-language poetry on illness: ‘My main job is to translate / pain into tales they can tolerate // in another language’
Jane Dowson, de Montfort University, Leicester

Breaking Bad News: What Poetry Has To Say About It
Dean Gianakos, Lynchburg, Virginia, USA

Clare Wilmot, Dartmouth, USA

12.10 Question and Answer Session

Guest Poetry Reading

12.30 Jo Shapcott

13.00 Lunch and Posters

Keynote address

Medicine and poetry: a husband and a lover
Eleni Theocharous MEP, Cyprus

Poetry in therapy and education (1)

Substance to Symbol: Toward the Inclusion of Great Poetry in Alcohol Addiction Recovery Programs for the Homeless
Robert Randolph, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania, USA

Sharing the journey: rediscovering a lost sense of self with poetry making.
Sue Spencer, County Durham

15.10 Tea and Posters

Poetry in therapy and education (2)

The medical student as poet
Sue Eckstein and Jackie Wills, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex

The use of poetry in reflective learning for GPs
Edward Picot, Cranbrook, Kent

16.10 Question and Answer Session

16.30 Tea


Reading by Marilyn Hacker

Remarks on behalf of the Judges: Martha Kearney

NHS awards: Professor Rod Flower FRS

Open International awards: Marilyn Hacker

Readings from the winning poems

18.00 Close and Reception for speakers, delegates and Hippocrates Prize winners

Please note that the programme may be subject to change

The 2012 International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine is supported by the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine.

To express interest in supporting the 2012 Symposium, contact the Symposium organizers.

2011 Symposium Faculty

Steve Field CBE ((2011 Hippocrates Prize Judging Panel, Chairman of Council, Royal College of General Practitioners, London), Sandy Goldbeck-Wood (Cambridge), Sorcha Gunne (HIV/AIDS and poetry, Warwick), Marilyn Hacker (Poet and Critic, New York & Paris), Fiona Hamilton (Chair, Lapidus), Michael Hulse (Writing Programme, Warwick), Mark Lawson ((2011 Hippocrates Prize Judging Panel - Broadcaster and Writer, Northampton) Gwyneth Lewis (2011 Hippocrates Prize Judging Panel - Former Welsh National Poet, Cardiff), Renee Liang (New Zealand), Timothy Metcalfe (Australia), Simon Opher (Poetry and Dementia - Dursley), Femi Oyebode (Psychiatry and Poetry, University of Birmingham), Donald Singer (Warwick Medical School), Sue Spencer (Poetry in Nurse Education - Newcastle), Kelley Swain (London), John Riddington Young (Syphilis in poetry - ENT Surgeon, West Barton, Bideford).

2011 Symposium Programme


Introduction: Themes in the Hippocrates Poetry and Medicine Awards
Donald Singer and Michael Hulse, University of Warwick


Jealous Mistress: Doctors as Poets
Femi Oyebode, University of Birmingham

Venus Heart: La Specola's Waxworks in Verse
Kelley Swain, Cambridge

On Learning from the Patient
Fiona Hamilton, Chair of Lapidus, Bristol

Round Table Discussion



Down with the Nose, Down with it Flat - References to ENT
Syphilitic Disease in 16th Century Poetry
John Riddington Young, Devon

Sex in Poetry
Sandy Goldbeck-Wood, Cambridge

'The Healing Power of Words: Community and Communitas in
Women's poetry about HIV / AIDS from Southern Africa'
Sorche Gunne, University of Warwick

Round Table Discussion


POETRY READING: Marilyn Hacker, New York


In our own Words: Poetry and Young People's Health
Renee Liang, Auckland, New Zealand

Using Poetry in Dementia
Simon Opher and Karen Hayes, Cheltenham

Reclaiming the art of nursing: how reading and writing poetry might redress
an imbalance within the development of nursing practice
Sue Spencer, Newcastle

Poems in Public on the Frontier
Rogan Wolf, London

Round Table Discussion


Poetry reading: Gwyneth Lewis, Cardiff


Remarks on behalf of the Judges: Mark Lawson
NHS awards: Professor Steve Field CBE
Open awards: Gwyneth Lewis

Readings from the 6 winning poems

Reception for speakers, delegates and Hippocrates Prize winners


Please note that the programme may be subject to minor changes on the day

2010 Symposium contributors

Dannie Abse, London; Alan Beattie, Lancaster; Christina Britzolakis, Warwick; Mary Crowder, Bristol; Giskin Day, Imperial College, London; Lise Day, Cape Town, South Africa; Rose Flint, Corsley; William Foster, Gloucester; Wendy French, London; Sandy Goldbeck-Wood; Peter Goldsworthy Poet and medical practitioner, Australia ; Sam Guglani, Cheltenham; Michael Hulse, Editor, The Warwick Review; Kevin Ilsley, Bromyard; Sarah Kelly; Sir Bruce Keogh, London; John Livingston, Leeds; Cheryl Moskowitz, London; James Naughtie, London; Stephanie Norgate, Midhurst, West Sussex; Simon Opher, Dursley ; Brenda Read-Brown, Tewkesbury; Susan Reynolds, British Library, London; Donald Singer, Warwick; Can Sonmez, Warwick; Stephen Wilson, Oxford; John Riddington Young, Sheffield

Support for the 2010 Symposium
The 2010 International Poetry and Medicine Symposium was supported by the Warwick Institute of Advanced Study, the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine and a Medical Humanities award from the Wellcome Trust.


2010 Programme

Saturday 10th April, 2010

Venue: University of Warwick Arts Centre Conference Room, Coventry CV4 7AL 

9.00 Introduction to Poetry and Medicine
Prof. Donald Singer, Michael Hulse, Warwick


9.20 A. D. Hope’s anatomy lesson
 Michael Hulse, Warwick

9.45 William Carlos Williams: GP and poet 
Christina Britzolakis, Warwick  


10.10 The death of Hamlet’s father 
John Riddington Young, Sheffield

10.30 Jiři Wolker: poetry and pathology 
Susan Reynolds, British Library, London

10.50 Hospital geography: incarnations of the poet-patient
Can Sönmez, Warwick


11.10 Attended Posters and Coffee, with John Riddington Young book-signing


11.30 Metaphors of movement: poetry and mental health
Alan Beattie, Lancaster

11.50 The Elves and the Poem-maker
Stephen Wilson, Oxford

12.10 State of emergency
Lise Day, Cape Town and Giskin Day, Imperial College, London 


12.30 Lunch


13.45 Keynote address - The Physiology of Literature
Peter Goldsworthy, Australia


14.15 The Apollo Project: Poetry in Cheltenham Hospital Oncology Unit 
Brenda Read-Brown, Tewkesbury and Sam Guglani, Cheltenham

14.35 Art and healing
 Sandy Goldbeck-Wood, 

14.55 Matters of the heart
Wendy French and Cheryl Moskowitz, London 

15.15 The well-versed medical student 
Giskin Day, Imperial College, London 


15.35 Attended Posters and Tea, with Dannie Abse book-signing


16.00 Poetry reading: Dannie Abse:

 Hippocrates Prize

16.20 Judges’ remarks: James Naughtie

16.35 Presentation
NHS awards: Sir Bruce Keogh
Open awards: Dannie Abse

Readings from the top 6 winning poems


17.00 Wine reception for speakers, delegates and Hippocrates Prize winners

18.00 Close


2010 Hippocrates Prize

The judges of this new pair of national and international medical poetry awards were:
- broadcaster, journalist and writer James Naughtie
- NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh
- poet and doctor Dannie Abse

Short-listing for the 2010 Hippocrates Prize awards took place in London 10th March 2010.

Short-listed and the top 20 commended entries in the NHS-related and Open categories were announced on the Hippocrates Proze Website on Thursday 18th March 2010.

The 2010 Hippocrates Prize awards were announced at the end of the above Symposium on Poetry and Medicine on Saturday 10th April 2010.

There was a £15,000 award fund for the 2010 Hippocrates Prize, given in an ‘open’ category which anyone could enter and in an ‘NHS’ category open to National Health Service employees and health students. The first prize for the winning poem in each category was £5,000.

The 2010 Hippocrates Prize was organised by a joint team from the University of Warwick’s Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies and the University’s Medical School.

Useful links

Medicine and Poetry. EP Scarlett. CAMJ. 1937;36:73–79.

History of Poetry as Therapy

Healing Words: Poetry and Medicine 

Journal of Poetry Therapy 

Journal of the American Medical Association: Poetry and Medicine 

Poetry and Healthcare resources

Shelley - Hymn of Apollo:
‘All harmony of instrument or verse, All prophecy, all medicine, is mine

Stanford: Poetry in Medicine 

The Poetry Kit

The Poetry Society

The Poetry Library

Poetry Foundation

Poetry Internation

 © Hippocrates initiative 2012: