Last week I had a telephone consultation with a pharmacist. Not an unusual thing to do in these corona-times, but this pharmacist doesn’t dispense drugs. Deborah Alma is a Poetry Pharmacist.
Before corona I’d planned to go to The Poetry Pharmacy in Bishops Castle, in June. But by the end of March I realised I wouldn’t be going. So, instead, Deborah and I had a telephone conversation in which she asked thought-provoking, heart-warming and inspiring questions, and we also laughed at least once.
Here’s a quote from The Poetry Pharmacy’s website:
Deborah began her poetry remedy work as The Emergency Poet which she described as
the world’s first and only mobile poetic first aid service … a mix of the serious, the therapeutic and the theatrical.
She drove an Emergency Poet ambulance to festivals, conferences, hospitals and care settings, libraries and schools … ‘anywhere where poetic help may be urgently required’. But from 4 October 2019 The Poetry Pharmacy has been open (with, of course, corona closures, but it’s open again now).
The Poetry Pharmacy’s aim is:
to counter the widely held perception that poetry is “difficult, obscure and not for the likes of me”. … To match or alter a mood, to assist … with good mental health … to bring therapeutic effects with an emphasis on well-being and inclusivity
If you should find yourself in Bishops Castle, apart from your Poetry Consultation (which you can find out more about and book here), there’s also a cafe where you can have a cup of Tea (S Eliot) and a piece of Philip Parkin (among other offerings). If you can’t make it to Bishops Castle, you can book your consultation by email or phone.
My prescription was uplifting, inspiring, beautiful, thought-provoking and its effects will be long-lasting as I reread. Part of it was a poem by Denise Levertov, here, and this:
A bottle of poetry capsules (not to be taken except metaphorically) inside each of which are coiled words of wisdom. The one I just opened says:
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. TS Eliot