How it works

Emergency Poet is a participatory, poetic and playful experience set inside a 1970’s ambulance.

The ambulance is set up at a venue, and patients take part in a free private poetic health consultation with the Emergency Poet, and within 10 minutes will be prescribed an appropriate poem, verse or lyric.

Under an attached awning there is the poetry pharmacy with bottles of pills containing extracts from poems for various ailments. The pharmacy is run by Nurse Verse or a Poemedic.

It is great for all ages, from 4-100.

I was guest blogger for the Young Writer’s Blog for this year’s National Poetry Day and it describes in better detail what goes on…

Click on this link to watch this BBC News video of Emergency Poet in action!

Cold Comfort Pharmacy 2

Passers-by can also discuss any poetic ailments with Nurse Verse whilst Emergency Poet is in session and has a supply of poemcetamols and other treatments on hand from the pharmacy for anyone who does not have the time for a consultation.

Feedback Board 3For organisers and hosts who like to keep track, a record is kept of the number of consultations, and Nurse Verse keeps a note of prescriptions from the pharmacy and interactions with the public.

The awning waiting room is often busy with the curious and the engaged, with children being ‘prescribed’ badges and plaster-poems, adults reading poems and self-diagnosing their ailments. Our feedback boards quickly fill up with comments, poems, doodles and jokes – and any handy tree nearby is often used to create a ‘poet tree’ with self-penned poems and fragments from the public.

Some feedback from previous participants:

“This was such a wonderful experience…very uplifting. Lovely to have poems handpicked by someone to meet one’s inspiration, requirements, personal needs etc. and I love both the prescription poem and the poetry pill.”

“I actually found this to be wonderful and useful. Taking the time to sit and answer questions allowed a moment of self-reflection. …..My daughter aged 7 found it very entertaining and loved the attention and poem. Book this Emergency Poet immediately!! The soul needs attention just like the body. Poetry for the soul!”