2022 FPM-Hippocrates Prize Open Shortlist

Shortlist

Ankylosing Spondylitis
Christina Dreier   Sutton Courtenay, Abingdon, England

My First Crush was my Cardiologist
Victoria Gatehouse   Ripponden, Halifax, England

Do You Still Frame Me On Your Desk?
Pamela Gormally   Alnwick, Northumberland, England

Until
Jess Skyleson   Rehoboth, United States

Scenes with a dead brother
Veronica Zundel   London, England


Biographies and inspiration for the poems

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Chrissie Dreier is a poet from Oxfordshire, where she lives with her husband and three young children. Her poetry was shortlisted in the 2019 Bridport Poetry Prize, long-listed in the 2021 Rialto Nature and Place competition and highly commended in The 2021 AUB International Poetry Prize. Chrissie's poems have been published in magazines such as The Alchemy Spoon, SPOONFEED and the Mum Poem Press Anthology. 

Regarding the inspiration behind her poem, Chrissie says, I" was diagnosed at the age of 26 with ankylosing spondylitis - a degenerative form of inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine, chess and, hips. I wanted to write about the disease in a way that shed light on what it's like to live with AS but also wanted to include a sense of defiance and hope, particularly through the playful images at the end."

Victoria Gatehouse Picture

Victoria Gatehouse is a prize-winning poet who originally trained as a biochemist. Victoria combines writing with a day job in clinical research. Her work has been widely published and also broadcast on BBC Radio. Victoria’s poems have found a home in many journals and anthologies including The North, Magma, Mslexia and The Rialto. Competition wins include The Ilkley Festival Poetry Prize, the PENfro Poetry Prize, The Poetry News Members’ Competition and, most recently, the Indigo International Wild Nature Poetry Award in 2021. Victoria has written two poetry pamphlets – Light After Light (Valley Press, 2018) and The Mechanics of Love, published by smith|doorstop, which was selected as a ‘Laureate’s Choice’ by Carol Ann Duffy in 2019.  

About the inspiration behind My First Crush was my Cardiologist she said: "In my teens I started to experience sudden episodes of arrhythmia. I appeared healthy and the GP initially diagnosed anxiety or ‘exam stress.’ Eventually I was referred to a cardiologist, and the months that followed were very difficult – travelling to and from hospital for numerous tests while my friends went to parties and looked forward to college.  In this poem I look back, through the eyes of my teen-self, at the patient young consultant who took time to listen carefully to both my heart and my fears. After the electrophysiology procedure, he drew me diagrams so I could better understand my imperfect wiring. In the poem I make use of forward slashes to emphasise the unpredictable heart rhythms and also my emotional state at the time.”

Pamel Gormally

Pamela Gormally started writing poetry when she retired as a primary school head in London and studied for an M.A. in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Her poems have appeared in Butcher’s Dog, Orbis, Obsessed With Pipework and several journals. She recently won first prize at the Sonnet or Not competition and her poem was published in Cannon Poets in March.

She said: "I was inspired to write Do You Still Frame Me On Your Desk? when I found a tiny wallet while I was clearing my mother’s house. The wallet contained faded blue appointment cards and a letter from the consultant to my grandfather thanking him for letting him know about my good progress when I was nine - ‘I shall keep her photograph as one of my trophies’.  I was diagnosed with a Wilm’s Tumour (a childhood cancer on the kidney) when I was three and a half and I had strong memories of my treatment in Sheffield Children’s Hospital and then at the Marie Curie Clinic. My happiest memory was of the surgeon painting dye on my side, but I couldn’t recall his name and my parents found it hard to talk about the whole experience. So, this poem is dedicated to James C. Anderson who, against the odds at that time, saved my life with his pioneering skill and kindness."

 

Jess Skyleson Photo

Jess Skyleson (pronouns they/them) is a former aerospace engineer who began writing poetry after being diagnosed with stage IV cancer at age 39. Currently in remission, they are now exploring new potential paths in creative writing, with a particular interest in Narrative Medicine, digital literature, and the poetry of Zen Buddhism. Their work has been selected as a finalist for the Kalanithi Writing Award and received Honorable Mentions in the Tor House and Yemassee Poetry Prizes. They have been published in a number of journals, including Oberon Poetry Magazine, Nixes Mate Review, and Ponder Review, among others, and their poems will appear in an upcoming anthology of disabled writers by Stillhouse Press.

About Until Jess said: "I wrote this villanelle in honor of my wife and the many hours we have spent waiting together throughout my ongoing journey into cancer diagnosis and treatment; those quiet moments as we sat side by side in hospital waiting rooms, doctors’ offices, and oncology wards. The one moment of waiting depicted in the poem has become a larger symbol of my life in the shadow of stage IV cancer, living always in anticipation of the next test result, the next scan, knowing that the inevitable awaits, yet finding peace in the current moment: in the still, quiet space that this waiting provides. We have built our life together in that stillness, each moment made more precious by the unspoken knowledge of its end, that ever-present “until”— an inevitability that we all, as humans, share. But before that ultimate stillness prevails, there can be found such a depth of love and connection in the silent, gentle touch of our hands”.  

 Open Shortlist Veronica Zundel 007-1

Veronica Zundel is a freelance non-fiction writer and graduate of  the Poetry School/Newcastle University MA in Writing Poetry. She has been writing poetry for 50 years and has had poems published in Magma, The Alchemy Spoon and Snakeskin as well as several anthologies. Veronica has won the Barnet Open and Cruse Lines competitions, been a finalist in the Mslexia poetry competition 2020 and come second in the Sonnet or Not competition 2021.

She said: "The inspiration for my poem is obviously my late brother’s history, but also the poem ’Ten places where I see my mother’ by Jennifer Copley, which I encountered in the 2018 Poetry School MA Summer School."


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