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Poet Kevin Gillam will read poetry interspersed with live cello music as respite for medical staff.

Poetry program offers respite

THE Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre is launching a new medicine and the arts poetry program, the first of its kind in Australia, later this month.

Following the April launch, at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, the writers’ centre plans to continue delivering the poetry sessions to hospitals and medical centres throughout metropolitan and regional Western Australia.

Program founder and long time writers’ centre member Anna Soter said at the inaugural session of The Hospital Poets Series award-winning Perth poet Kevin Gillam would read passages of poetry interspersed with live cello music.

Dr Soter said it would not be a typical poetry reading.

“There will be no book sales,’’ she said.

“There will be no analysis or academic discussion or self-promotion.

“The signature of a Hospital Poets reading, rather, is providing a platform for poetry itself in an exclusive respite for hospital staff.’’

In the series originally launched in 2010 in Ohio Dr Soter said she envisioned a place where medical staff could find relief from the pressures of their profession.

“I believed that such a program would provide a space where staff could find a fountain of renewal and rejuvenation in the middle of a busy hospital day.’’

While there are many well-being initiatives that focus on patients and healing, as recognised by the newly launched National Arts and Health Framework, she identified a gap for staff to receive the same.

“As medical personnel suffer from ever-increasing stress levels which negatively impacts personal health and the ability to deliver high quality care, this program is well-needed.’’

She said author Kim Rosen referred to poetry as having a shamanic effect and that was the effect Mr Gillam hoped to bring to his audience at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

“I am honoured to be involved in this innovative program,’’ he said.

“The poems and music I have selected will create an atmosphere of stillness and reflection, lifting the audience into new realms of thought.”

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. The best part of her job was meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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