The Poetry Pharmacy by William Sieghart

I received The Poetry Pharmacy as a Christmas gift and, upon reading it, have now bought it as gifts for others. It is a very special book, and I promise you don’t need to know the first thing about poetry in order to enjoy it or take something away from it.

The concept of The Poetry Pharmacy is simple and beautiful. Someone presents William Sieghart with a problem of the heart or mind and he prescribes them a poem to help their ailment. Poetry Pharmacies are now a physical real-life experience that people can book in appointments, and the success of this book has spawned a second The Poetry Pharmacy Returns.

In this edition, William has compiled 56 conditions and their prescribed poems. He talks about each affliction and why he has chosen the poem to combat the problem.

The poems are short, with most fitting on a single page. Some are famous and well known, such as Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman. Another is Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye. Others will be a fresh new experience that you will be happy to add to your repertoire. I particularly liked Come to the Edge by Christopher Logue as the prescription for Lack of Courage.

Although many of my friends don’t actively read poetry, there is something quite unique about this book that I believe it makes a wonderful gift. William has a special skill for explaining how to understand each of the poems, that it makes it easily accessible. I think poetry can have a reputation for being high-brow and intimidating, but I found The Poetry Pharmacy to be a real source of comfort. This is a book I can return to again and again.


Come to the Edge
by Christopher Logue

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
And they came,
And he pushed,
And they flew.