National Poetry Day 2019 ‘Truth’

Raedwald, the first ‘English’ King.

Selling your friend for gold? Honour? Government? Which sentiment is in ascendant in 2019?

National poetry day 2019. The subject is TRUTH!

Christabel Hopesmith is considering performance poetry for this year’s poetry day on 3 October 2019. We are exploring the most relevant poems for us to share. We are also looking at novel ways to perform them.

The truth must dazzle gradually

Or every man be blind.

Emily Dickinson “Tell the truth but tell it slant”

More ideas here

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,

Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:

Oliver Goldsmith “The Deserted Village”

Oliver Goldsmith was writing at the time of what were called ‘The Enclosures’ in England, where country people had their land taken from under their feet and so their ability to grow food was removed.

Is anything being removed at the present time or is everything rosy?

What people are saying about the NHS 70th birthday anthology Body and Soul

We have been delighted with comments about the book of poems so thought to share some of them.

“It’s a lovely book.” PW; publisher

“It’s lovely! …. the book that keeps on giving” Reader from Talking Zebras spoken word group.

“I like the way it sort of tells a story as it goes along” Reader; Honley library.

“Would I be able to purchase 4 more poem books. They are gorgeous. ” LM;  Reader

If you want to show someone some ‘NHS love’ for Valentine’s day, why not get one now.               Enquire through  the comments box below.


Body and Soul Poetry Anthology book launch

Introduction to the book launch.

Contributors and supporters, friends and members of the public met up in York Library at the book  launch to hear songs, the cart play about the history of health care in York and of course listen to the poems.

The winner Michelle Diaz and second prize winner Margaret Adkins, were able to attend and the third prize winner Simon Williams was with us in spirit on screen.  He had recorded his entry because he had been unable to attend due to prior a engagement. Deborah Harrington from Public Matters, awarded the prizes after a short introduction about her background and previous experience in NHS matters.

The cart play was followed by an unexpected sing along and an opportunity to have a ‘selfie’ taken with an NHS 70 frame.

A box of books.

If you would like a book or even more than one, please use the comments box below to express the intention.  I will then e-mail to let you know how much the postage will be, for the quantity you would like. The cover price for the book is £8.

In addition, in a few days the bookshop News From Nowhere in Liverpool (96 Bold Street, L1 4HY), will be stocking some copies.


Anthology of poems to mark 70 years of the NHS.

Poems by…. in approximately alphabetical order…

Margaret Adkins, Brian Archer, Trevor Alexander, Michael Brett, Sarah J Bryson, Carole Bromley, Patrick Barran,  Lizzie Ballagher, Julie Boitoult,  Anne Broadbent, Simon Currie, Tina Cole, Diana Cant, Deborah Cobbett, Jonathon Davidson, Sarah L Dixon, David Dodwell, Vicki Dodge, Liz Denial, Michelle Diaz,  Jill Eastland, Helen Fanshaw, Rebecca Gethin, Harry Gallagher, Raine Geoghegan, Tony Hargreaves, Mary Hubble, David Honeybell, Graham Jones, Linda Kurowski, John Ling, Allanah Milsom, Waseem Mira, Saiga Mina, Frank Newsum, Barbara Prater, Kauser Parveen, Terence Quinn, Marg Roberts, David Ramsden, Alun Robert, Christine Renshaw, Zan Simkin, Ella Frances Sanderson, Mohamed Saloo, Isbeal Tannahill,  Cathy Whittaker, Lily May Worsdall, Sarah Watkinson, Julia Webb, Jane Wilson, Simon Williams, Anne Weerakoon

The book launch is on 24th November 2018 at York Library at 2pm. Your invitations should arrive in the next few days if they have not already. If you would like to attend please let us know.





Preparing the book!

Like the National Health Service of yore we have tried to be inclusive in our approach to the poems submitted. However, a few people forgot to put the titles of their poems on the contact sheet. This means we have poems with no author.

If you wrote “I am so much more than the Menopause” please get in touch through the comments box.

Please look in your spam box to see if you have an e-mail with the Christabel Hopesmith ourNHS70 Poetry Competition in the subject line,  requesting a .doc version of your work.


The winners are announced!

Wendy Cope and Lachlan Mackinnon were impressed with the quality of the entries so thank you to everyone who took part.

The results are as follows. Apologies for the mis-transcribing of the titles.

NHS 70th Birthday Competition

Judged by Wendy Cope and Lachlan Mackinnon

1st My life reduced to a window;  Michelle Diaz

2nd You never forget your first patients; Margaret Adkins

3rd Granddad


Visiting Helen in the afternoon; Carole Bromley

Widow; John Ling

This Old Doc; Anthony (Tony) Hargreaves

End of a Nightshift on Nightingale Ward; Margaret Adkins


The work of the organisers goes on. The prize giving and book launch (plus the  actual production of the book ) is being organised as we write and since the poems were of such a good standard, we are applying to the Arts Council for funding, which has set us back a little bit because the time scale for acceptance or rejection is 6 weeks from when we make the application. And the hoops we have to jump through were not anticipated. Nevertheless, we want the book to be the best it can be.

Congratulations to everyone who entered and particularly to those above. We will publish the poems online and in the book and we may use extracts for promotional and advertising purposes but when the book launch has passed the copy-rite returns to the writers and we will have to seek permission to reuse them.

Waiting for the results…

We have got an estimate for the printing of the book, although the preparation is going to be more work than we anticipated.

Nevertheless we are undaunted.

The winners will be announced soon.

Brilliant Poems


Some wonderful poems have arrived for the competition and now, the PO Box is closed.

The timetable for entries has been compromised by the sudden and unexpected death of the person we were relying on who was experienced with regard to book production and publishing! This is a double tragedy and I have only just been able to face writing about it.

Nevertheless the show must go on and therefore we are making attempts to find alternative knowledge and expertise. It is however unlikely that the beginning of July for publication is still in the frame… however, miracles do happen.

Extension to competition deadline, now 28 March 18

The last date for receipt of poems to the competition is now 28 March 2018, yay!

Get the thinking cap on, there’s a bit more time to finish what you wanted to say…  or say something else. There is no limit to the number of poems you can submit, but please remember that if you send them in a very large envelope, the cost of the stamp is more than ordinary first class and needs to be a Large Letter stamp, whether first or second class post.

We don’t mind if you fold your work.

It’s true!…Writing helps you heal…research from New Zealand!

Researchers in New Zealand investigated whether expressive writing can help physical injuries heal. It has long been thought that such writing can improve mood and help with psychological trauma.

The researchers studied older adults, according to the article in Scientific American. 

They chose 49 healthy adults from 64 to 97 years old and asked them to write about  upsetting events or daily activities, for 20 minutes on 3 days in a row. Then after a lapse of two weeks to allow any negative feelings stirred up by writing about the upsets to pass, they gave each person a biopsy on the arm. They photographed the healing process over 21 days and discovered that by day 11, of the group doing the expressive writing 76% had fully healed as against 42% of the control group. It appears that a  paper in September 2013  in the British Journal of Health Psychology indeed found that writing about an emotional topic lowered participants’ cortisol levels.

In the New Zealand study, the writers who had more sleep in the run up to the biopsy also healed faster.

Although expressive writing did aid healing when done after the event of the physical wound, the most beneficial time was when the writing had been done earlier, according to a BBC R4 programme about it, in the summer of 2017.