Poetry Takeaway serves up a treat | News from St Bartholomew's

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Poetry Takeaway serves up a treat

Members of staff visit the poetry takeaway in the square at Barts

A small van serving personalised poetry proved a hit with staff, patients and the public at St Bartholomew’s Hospital last week.

Described as ‘the world's first mobile poetry emporium’, members of the Poetry Takeaway spent three days in the famous ‘Barts’ square listening to stories from passers-by before turning them into brilliant bards.

The purpose of the project was to spread joy through poetry, improve wellbeing and introduce new people to the art form.

It was arranged by Vital Arts and generously funded by the Culture Mile Business Improvement District.

Studies have shown that reading, writing and sharing poetry can help people cope with loneliness or isolation and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

Participants spend time with one of the poets and discuss what they would like to hear, whether that is a poem for themselves, a loved one, or for the rest of the team in the office.

The poets spend the next hour or so transforming their notes into a bespoke poem.

When the participant return to pick up their piece, it is recited live for the very first time.

Over 120 poems were served up across the week.

One patient said: “I had a nice chat with Georgie and she articulated what I had to say so lovingly. I’ve been on such a journey, a terrible one and one of self-love. This poem has summed up my journey. It was a gift.”

One medic said: “Got my first poem yesterday and took it straight back to the other junior doctors in my team. They were as speechless as I was — it’s beautifully written. I’m going to frame if and keep it on my desk as a reminder of the curiosity and wonder of life. The NHS needs things like this.”

Find out more about the Poetry Takeaway and the work of Vital Arts

Member of staff receives their poem from the poetry takeaway van at Barts

Poet and customer embrace at the Poetry Takeaway van at Barts

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