Welcome to the world’s first walk-in Poetry Pharmacy. This beautiful Victorian shop with its original shelves & mahogany counter is filled with poetry, philosopy and well-being books and ‘pills’ and other literary gifts and products, to address your emotional needs. Your Poetry Pharmacist will be able to prescribe suitable philtres and tonics, and you will also be able to visit the Dispensary Cafe to be prescribed coffees, teas and tisanes, sodas, sherbets and seltzers to lift the spirits.
We have been dispensing poetry for 8 years as Emergency Poet from the back of our vintage ambulance at festivals, conferences, hospitals and care settings, libraries and schools, with a poetry pharmacy of poems-in-pills under the attached awning.
The whole impetus for that project was to be a vehicle (pun intended) for poetry to be delivered to people who don’t usually encounter it; to be inviting and not intimidating, to counter the widely held perception that poetry is “difficult, obscure and not for the likes of me”
We were peering through the dusty shop-door windows on the High Street in pretty Bishop’s Castle in the Summer of 2017 and had a vision of the Poetry Pharmacy with bottles of pills set against the beautiful Victorian shop fittings, the original drawers and shelves and mahogany counter in a shop that had been closed for over 10 years.
We believe that poetry can do so much to match or alter a mood, to assist in so many ways with good mental health. The Poetry Pharmacy is a way for us to park up the ambulance and bring the therapeutic effects of poetry under one roof, with an emphasis on well-being and inclusivity.
So the theatre of the ambulance was the way in. At the heart of it there has always been good quality, intelligent poetry. The Poetry Pharmacy will continue this element of theatre, this light-hearted approach and there will be something in there for everyone; maybe Candlestick Press ‘Poems Instead of a Card’ and a cup of Tea (S Eliot) and a piece of Philip Parkin from the cafe. (There may be some terrible puns).