Medical poetry contest winner to get 15Kpounds prize

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London, Mar 24 (ANI): Write poems on medicine and win prizes worth 15,000 pounds-a new international competition is offering just that for the winner of best medical poetry.

The competition, organised to celebrate the healing power of words, has short-listed six finalists from more than 1,600 entries from 31 countries.

The winners of the Hippocrates Prize will be announced at a symposium on Poetry and Medicine on 10 April, at the University of Warwick, which has put up the prize money.

The competition attracted entries from professional poets including Pauline Stainer, the author of nine collections of poetry, C K Stead, a distinguished writer, and Sian Hughes, whose first book of poems appeared last year-they are finalists in the "open" category.

The Hippocrates Prize is also offered in an NHS category open to National Health Service-related employees and health students.

The shortlisted candidates in this category are Wendy French, who runs creative writing classes in the NHS and has published two collections of poetry, Alex Josephy, an educationist working with NHS doctors, and Edward Picot, who manages a GP practice.

Judges include Dannie Abse, the poet, James Naughtie, the BBC Radio 4 Today presenter, and Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS medical director.

"These poems were exhilarating to read. It was very moving to sense the struggles which have to be kept private but can be allowed to show through in poetry. And in the general poetry, there were some powerful poems, with a lot of energy under the bonnet," the Independent quoted James Naughtie as saying.

Fiona Sampson, editor of Poetry Review, welcomed the competition, saying: "Traditionally poetry speaks to big moments in your life so it is quite natural for people to turn to it when thinking about illness, whether they are patients or medical professionals."

"The fact that this competition has elicited poems from major poets with international reputations - poets who wouldn't normally enter a poetry prize - tells us something about the importance of the relationship between poetry and medicine," she added.

The winning poems, together with 20 commended poems in each category, are to be published in a book. (ANI)

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