The Poetry Pharmacy and The Poetry Pharmacy Returns; William Sieghart

poetrypharmacyAre you ever out-of-sorts, grieving, or broken-hearted?  Have you regrets, a fear of the unknown, or are you having to deal with problems in your life? A time may come when you’re bored, or anxious, or perhaps you are bereaved or unlucky in love.

Quoting Alan Bennett, the editor of these two compilations of verse says, “The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”

The reader identifies with the sentiments in the verse; you’re no longer on your own. Somebody else has experienced the same thing and bared their soul in print. It speaks to you. You have made a connection. You’re NOT the only one who feels like this.  Sieghart believes this can be therapeutic, hence his titles, The Poetry Pharmacy and The Poetry Pharmacy Returns.

For comfort, reflection, delight and inspiration, Sieghart offers poems to deal with most of our problems together with little individual introductions to explain why he considers them apt to the appropriate situation.

I love this poem by the fourteenth-century Persian poet, Hafez, which speaks to us all in a time of rancour, discord and division. It reminds us, that whatever path we take, we are probably working towards the same final goal as our neighbour who goes a different route; understanding, not fear, is the key.

I am in love with every church

And mosque

And temple

And any kind of shrine

Because I know it is there

That people say the different names

Of the One God.

These collections have delighted and inspired me and encouraged me to look into further poems by authors who spoke to my condition. I am likely to share some of them with the rest of the congregation the next time it’s my turn to give a reading when Sunday morning services eventually resume.

The Poetry Pharmacy; Particular Books 2017. ISBN978-1-846-14954-2

The Poetry Pharmacy Returns; Particular Books 2019. ISBN978-0-241-41905-2

Reviewed by David Kerr




1 Comment »

  1. I was talking with someone this evening and Alan Bennett’s quote sums one part of our conversation up perfectly.
    I wonder if reading poetry will have a renaissance?


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