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The Poetry Pharmacy
  1. Toni Saad,
  2. Flora Matthews
  1. Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Gloucester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Toni Saad, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Gloucester, UK; toni.saad{at}

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Prose made way for poetry in this month’s book club, as we considered William Sieghart’s The Poetry Pharmacy, a brief anthology of ‘tried-and-true prescriptions for the heart, mind and soul.’ This is the formulary of a poetry apothecary who has been, for several years, dispensing verse in makeshift clinics at literary festivals to the bewildered and downcast. Indications ranging from hopelessness and heartbreak to infatuation and oppression are the targets of his tailored remedies. Sieghart counts nearly a thousand patients in receipt of his prescriptions. His belief in the therapeutic power of poetry has inspired him to compile a few dozen of his most trusty antidotes into this handsome hardback.

Members of the book club were well disposed to the premise that poetry can exert great …

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  • Contributors TS and FM conceptualised the article together, TS drafted the article, and TS and FM refined it.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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  • Editors’ commentary
    Phil E M Smith Geraint N Fuller

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