A poetry anthology about the NHS, These are the Hands, will be published on World Poetry Day (21st March) by the independent publishing house Fair Acre Press.
Edited by poet Deborah Alma and London GP Dr Katie Amiel, the anthology “serves as a stark reminder of the human cost of trying to offer compassionate care in a system that is underfunded” according to its synopsis. The editors approached Fair Acre press owner and ex-GP Nadia Kingsley to publish the anthology.
Alma said: “This anthology has been an incredible and humbling experience. We sifted through about 600 submissions and I’m so proud of the poets and NHS staff whose profound and moving narratives make up the book. There have been anthologies about the NHS in the past, but as far as I know, nothing that gives a voice to the staff in this way.”
UK poets including Michael Rosen, Roger McGough, Lemn Sissay, Sabrina Mahfouz, Kate Clanchy, Sam Guglani, Charly Cox, Molly Case, Wendy Cope and the estates of UA Fanthorpe, Dannie Abse and Julia Darling have donated poems to the anthology.
All proceeds will go to NHS Charities Together, raising money for hospitals, ambulance services, community and mental health services across the UK.
Alma teaches Creative Writing at Keele University where she is an Honorary Research Fellow. She has worked using poetry with people with dementia, in hospice care, vulnerable women’s groups and school children. She co-founded the world’s first walk-in Poetry Pharmacy in Shropshire with her partner the poet James Sheard, featured on BBC and Sky TV, and is known as “The Emergency Poet” prescribing poetry from a vintage ambulance. Her first collection, Dirty Laundry, is published by Nine Arches Press.
Dr Amiel founded The Bigger Picture aiming to improve professional wellbeing and patient care by giving opportunities for healthcare staff to develop their creative talents.