Yes, poetry prescriptions for what ails you. Totally enchanting idea.
A small hitch: as of now we’d have to travel to Shropshire in England to get these meds. Maybe someone could open a branch here? Or maybe we can individually prescribe poetry for ourselves.
The beginning of the Guardian piece:
Following in the hallowed footsteps of Milton, who wrote in 1671 that “apt words have power to swage / The tumours of a troubled mind / And are as balm to festered wounds”, the poet Deborah Alma is preparing to open the UK’s first poetry pharmacy. Here, instead of sleeping pills and multivitamins, customers will be offered prescriptions of Derek Walcott and Elizabeth Bishop.
Alma, who as the “Emergency Poet” has prescribed poems as cures from the back of a 1970s ambulance for the last six years, is now setting up a permanent outlet in a shop at Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire. An old Edwardian ironmonger’s, it still has the original fixtures and fittings, and, together with her partner, the TS Eliot prize-shortlisted poet James Sheard, Alma is preparing to turn it into a haven “to help ease a variety of maladies with the soothing therapy of Poetry”.
Dressed in a white coat and stethoscope, Alma says she was invited to appear as the Emergency Poet at “schools, hospitals and festivals all over the place, but I’m a middle-aged woman and I’m getting a bit old for driving around”. She first noticed the shop on Bishop’s Castle High Street two years ago. “It’s got all the original shelves, drawers, the oak counter; it’s beautiful and I thought: ‘Wow, that would make a fantastic poetry pharmacy!’ Two years later, we’ve done it and got a mortgage,” she says.