Poems that arouse powerful emotions: the short-list for the 2021 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Poets from 37 countries have entered for the 2021 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. With an awards fund of £5500, this is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single unpublished poem.

The judges – from New York, London and Delhi – have agreed a shortlist of 4 poets for the top places in the 2021 FPM-Hippocrates international Open Awards and a shortlist of 6 poets for the top places in the 2021 FPM-Hippocrates Health Professional Awards.

The 2021 Hippocrates Prize is supported by medical charity the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine and healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust.

Winners will be announced by live webcast from 8.30pm UK time on Wednesday 19th May.

Click here to register free for the awards session.

Click here for details of all the shortlisted and commended poets.

Competing for the FPM-Hippocrates Open Prize are former magazine editor, freelance writer and teacher of writing and literature Fran Castan from New York City, USA, writer, editor, and anthropologist Bryan Monte from Utrecht in The Netherlands and two poets from England: bioscience PhD researcher Jack Cooper from Coventry, and from Slough poet Lesley Saunders, who works on collaborative projects with other poets as well as artists, sculptors, musicians, photographers and dancers.

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Open Shortlist: above - Fran Castan and Jack Cooper;
below Bryan Monte and Lesley Saunders

In the running for the FPM-Hippocrates Health Professional Prize are retired psychiatrist Roger Bloor from Newcastle in Staffordshire, England, physician and Doctors Without Borders volunteer Andrew Rafik Azmy Dimitri from Marrickville, New South Wales in Australia, Consultant Neonatologist Elizabeth Osmond from Bower Ashton near Bristol in England, Consultant Clinical Psychologist Khadija Rouf from Witney in Oxfordshire, former lab technician Joyce Turner from Rock Hill, South Carolina in the USA and Sophia Wilson, who has a background in arts, medicine and psychiatry and is from Dunedin in New Zealand. 

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Health Professional Shortlist: above - Roger Bloor, Andrew Rafik Azmy Dimitri and Elizabeth Osmond; below - Khadija Rouf, Joyce Turner and Sophia Wilson.

Commendations were also agreed for entrants from Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Wales, Greece, the United Arab Emirates, Canada and the USA - 21 in the FPM-Hippocrates Open category and 22 in the FPM-Hippocrates Health Professional Category.

Judge and New York Times senior reporter Anne Barnard said: “The outpouring of work was a joyous and painful reminder of how people around the world sought to create even during this difficult year. The poems reflected how life - and death - appeared to us with new vividness during the pandemic, and also how life and death literally went on alongside it: the more familiar ways of being sick, healing and dying of course did not stop for the global plague.”

She added: “I spend a lot of my time writing news stories, but there is always poetry somewhere in each one. It is inspiring to read the work of hands-on caregivers finding the poetry in their work, be it terrible, beautiful or both.”

Judge Neena Modi, Neonatal Professor at Imperial College, London and President-Elect of the British Medical Association, said: “The 2021 Hippocrates Poetry Prize shortlist reflects and arouses powerful emotions with sometimes lyrical, sometimes stark, reflections on loss, age, illness, and the cruelties of the human condition, underlined in the time of COVID”.

Judge Keki Daruwalla, one of India’s foremost poets and writers, said: “I am just proud to be passing on two tranches of poems, one by Health workers and another from Open sources. These are poems written during a pandemic raging across the globe and stem from differing moods, traversing a wide emotional landscape. What is essential for us who judged the poems, was whether poetry has been distilled from this bedlam of sickness, death, fear and despair. Most poems here pass this test with aplomb.”

Judge Anna Jackson has also agreed a shortlist of 5 poets from Scotland, the Philippines and the USA for the 2021 Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for Poetry and Medicine.

She said: “Every entry for this award had something to commend it for – these were poems that took important matters into consideration with interesting approaches to form, lyrical beauty, original imagery, startling perspectives or beautiful design, and some of the best poems combined more than one of these elements.”

Co-organiser Donald Singer said: “We are delighted to have such a strong international field of entries in the 12th year of the Hippocrates Prize. We look forward to the announcement of the winners and to hearing their winning poems during the free online session on Zoom on Wednesday 19th May. You can see details about all shortlisted and commended poets on the Hippocrates Prize website: hippocrates-poetry.org

The International Hippocrates Prize is awarded in three categories:

- a £1000 first prize, £500 second prize and £250 third prize in the FPM-Hippocrates Open category, which anyone in the world may enter. There are a further ~20 commendations in the Open category

- a £1000 first prize, £500 second prize and £250 third prize in the FPM-Hippocrates Health Professional category, which is open to Health Service employees, health students and those working in professional organisations anywhere in the world involved in education and training of health professional students and staff. There are a further ~20 commendations in the Health Professional category

- a £500 award for the Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for an unpublished poem in English on a medical theme. Entries are open to young poets from anywhere in the world aged 14 to 18 years. There are further commendations in the Young Poets category. There is no entry fee for the Young Poets prize.

The Hippocrates Initiative for Poetry and Medicine – winner of the 2011 Times Higher Education Award for Innovation and Excellence in the Arts – is an interdisciplinary venture that investigates the synergy between medicine, the arts and health.

Notes for editors
For more on the Hippocrates Prize, including embargoed details of the winners and the winning poems, contact Donald Singer on 07494 450 805
or hippocrates.poetry@gmail.com

Support for the 2021 Hippocrates Prize

The 2021 FPM-Hippocrates Open Awards and FPM-Hippocrates Health Professional Awards are supported by the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine. The FPM, founded in 1918, is a UK medical society which publishes the international journals the Postgraduate Medical Journal and Health Policy and Technology. 

The 2021 Hippocrates Young Poets Prize is supported by the Cardiovascular Research Trust, a healthy heart charity founded in 1996, which promotes research and education for the prevention and treatment of disorders of the heart and circulation. The charity has a particular interest in avoiding preventable heart disease through educating school students.

2021 Hippocrates Judges

Judges for the 2021 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine are Senior New York Times reporter Anne Barnard from New York City, distinguished poets Keki Daruwalla from Delhi in India and Associate Professor in English Literature Anna Jackson from Wellington in New Zealand, and Neena Modi, paediatrician and Professor of Neonatal Medicine at Imperial College, London and President-Elect of the British Medical Association. Anne Barnard, Keki Daruwalla and Professor Neena Modi were judges for the FPM-Hippocrates Open and Health Professional awards and Anna Jackson judged the Young Poets’ Prize for Poetry and Medicine. Click here for more on the 2021 judges.

onion © Hippocrates initiative 2012: hippocrates.poetry@gmail.com