Poetry by and for patients with cancer: Updates on Cancer – 2017

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Wendy French

Keynote speaker Wendy French will discuss her Poet-in-Residency year at the UCLH MacMillan Cancer Centre at a one-day meeting on Updates on Cancer to be held in London in 2017, organised by the FPM.

Details of the meeting will be announced early in 2017.

Working with patients, sharing in their hopes and fears, tracking the everyday endeavours of a vital medical hub, Wendy French found herself drawn into lives in which blood tests, diagnosis, chemotherapy and hope become as much part of the human experience as cappuccino and Vivaldi on the radio.

Her residency resulted in publication of ‘Thinks itself a Hawk’. In the collection, one life, that of Zipora, a Jewish woman whose origins lay in the darkest days of the twentieth century, is chosen for particular attention for its power to place everyday experience in large frames, but also for the brightness with which it reminds us that everyday life is unique and important.

Wendy French was Poet in Residence at the Macmillan Centre UCLH from April 2014-2015. Her collaboration with Jane Kirwan resulted in the book Born in the NHS, published in 2013. She won the inaugural 2010 Hippocrates Poetry and Medicine prize for the NHS section in 2010 and was awarded the Hippocrates NHS second prize in 2011. She has two chapbooks and two further collections of poetry published, Splintering the Dark (2005), and surely you know this (2009). She previously worked twenty years with children and adults with mental health problems and was head of the Maudsley and Bethlem Hospital School. She has also worked with people with aphasia/dysphasia, helping them to recover their use of language through poetry.

This one day symposium will include sessions on:cancer wordle

  • risk factors for cancer
  • evidence for effective strategies aimed at preventing cancer
  • medical humanities to support patients undergoing treatment for cancer
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