Poetic Treatment

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Cooking poetry1Women at the forefront of medical science, health inequalities, and medical archaeology might not be obvious subjects for poetry, but all these things were given poetic treatment by some of the the prize-winning entries for the 2012 Hippocrates Awards for Poetry and Medicine, announced last Sunday at Wellcome Collection.

The Hippocrates Awards celebrate the capacity of poetry to give unique insight into medical experience. First prize in the open competition went to American poet Mary Bush, for a poem inspired by the pioneering work of a female scientist in the field of human tissue engineering. The NHS prize (restricted to current or former UK NHS-related staff and UK health students) was won by former nurse Nick McKinnon, for a poem detailing the transformation of a Victorian asylum into a gated, luxury development in the twentieth century.

Previous winners and commended entries of the Hippocrates Prize can be read in the Wellcome Library, as we hold both the 2010 and 2011 anthologies, while the 2012 anthology will find its way to our shelves as soon as our copy arrives. It will sit alongside many other poetry collections, novels, graphic novels, and books and journals that reflect upon the relationship between medicine and literature, all of which can be found on the Library catalogue, or by using this thematic guide.


Chris Hassan is Medical Humanities Development Officer at the Wellcome Library.

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