Poetry is a remarkable activity and resource.
It can be a great comfort -- the remembered line or phrase or poem that comes to mind in a crisis, and helps you struggle through, or suddenly understand what it is you are struggling with. It can also be a great enabler of empathy, in helping us understand the struggles of others.
The writing of it offers the comfort that comes in articulating ones own thoughts or feelings or relationships. That may in turn require degrees of honesty that are in themselves healing, though sometimes they may also be disturbing. Poetry is no easy activity.
Poetry can be an art, a discipline, and a practice -- a skill which can be developed and polished, and which can, in turn, generate the self-respect which comes when skills are gained.
Poetry can be an eloquence, a power of persuasion -- 'with a word, to take cities' -- a form of agency to influence our communities.
And poetry may also be a medicine, something that others offer to us, when such prescriptions are appropriate.
To discuss these questions and others, we have a variety of practitioners and prescribers. Fiona Hamilton has many years of teaching therapeutic writing to a diverse set of communities. Danny Pandolfi is the founder of Raise the Bar, a spoken-word events-night based in Bristol which aims for inclusivity and excellence. Mandeep Sing is a rapper and psychiatrist in waiting, managing a neurodiverse urban music night in London. Trevor Thompson is a professor of primary care and a GP in Bristol, in a surgery which has pioneered of social prescribing.