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The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Mind, Heart and Soul

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,258 ratings  ·  159 reviews
In the years since he first had the idea of prescribing short, powerful poems for all manner of spiritual ailments, William Sieghart has taken his Poetry Pharmacy around the length and breadth of Britain, into the pages of the Guardian, onto BBC Radio 4 and onto the television, honing his prescriptions all the time. This pocket-sized book presents the most essential poems ...more
Hardcover, 151 pages
Published September 28th 2017 by Particular Books
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  1,258 ratings  ·  159 reviews

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Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ilse by: Jan-Maat
Shelves: poetry, uk, reviewed, 2020
Any healthy man can go without food for two days--but not without poetry.
Charles Baudelaire

I liked the concept and premise of this variegated anthology a lot. A fine poem a day keeps the doctor away. As a believer in the power and the necessity of poetry, I cheer William Sieghart’s laudable mission to listen to people’s problems and administer a “prescription” in the shape of poem to those affected by what he classifies as “conditions” (mostly ‘spiritual ailments’ as there are, addiction, despai
Imogen Kathleen
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 5-star, 2021
This book came to me at exactly the right time. The perfect lockdown read.
Offering words of wisdom for ailments from anxiety to unrequited love, this fabulous little collection is perfect for those who aren't too sure where to begin with poetry. I loved the notes from Sieghart about each poem, and I loved that I got to read a range of poets that I had heard of but never really explored.
Full RTC, but I am about to gift this book to so many people.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The Poetry Pharmacy is exactly what it states in the title. This short read contains poems from a range of authors, all dealing with different subjects, such as bereavement, obsessive love, self image and self acceptance and various others.
Some of these poems I enjoyed and appreciated more than others. Here is one of my favourites;

"Although the wind." By Izumi Shikibu.
Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.

I like the variety of au
Today is National Poetry Day here in the UK, and there could be no better primer for reluctant poetry readers than William Sieghart’s The Poetry Pharmacy. Consider it the verse equivalent of Berthoud and Elderkin’s The Novel Cure: an accessible and inspirational guide that suggests the right piece at the right time to help heal a particular emotional condition.

Sieghart, a former chairman of the Arts Council Lottery Panel, founded the Forward Prizes for Poetry in 1992 and National Poetry Day itse
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
4.5 stars if I could, but I'm happy to round up rather than down.

Robert Graves wrote, “A well chosen anthology is a complete dispensary of medicine for the more common mental disorders, and may be used as much for prevention as cure,” and that is the premise of the present anthology.

Sieghart explains in his introduction how the idea of his Poetry Pharmacy arose and developed, following with a useful short note on "how to read poetry". He then introduces each poem under a heading for the "conditi
Preety Virdi
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars!

This is the second audio book I have ever listened to. The first was We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda ngozi Adichie. Evening walks had me trying this out, in favour of repetitive lyrics, or rhythmic footsteps and labored breathing. It seems to work for me.

When I first started listening to The Poetry Pharmacy, I was blown away, and wanted to open my Goodreads profile just to rate it before I had even finished it. I absolutely loved it! In a way, I am glad I didn’t. To capture
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A poetry book for people who say they don’t like poetry.
Dane Cobain
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a cute little collection, although it did also start to feel a little repetitive after a while. In it, Sieghart basically takes a bunch of different circumstances in which someone might need a poem and then he makes a diagnosis and writes out a prescription in the form of a famous poem. Sieghart has made a name for himself as the proprietor of the Poetry Pharmacy, and he goes to events and listens to people’s troubles and then suggests a poem that might help them.

It’s a pretty cool idea
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I just love the idea of this - sounds like the perfect job, to sit and listen to people tell you how they're feeling, and then read them a poem that makes them feel less alone in that feeling.
Whilst I didn't necessarily love all the poems in this collection (question: is two bullet pointed sentences really a poem? idk) they all made sense with the explanation of their inclusion alongside, and the afflictions of the heart, mind and soul that they intend to treat. It also includes some of my favou
Liv Chalmers
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ultimate-recs, 2020
I am so grateful for this book, you would not believe. This book got me out of a two year plus reading slump, that was ruled by my depression. Sieghart's short but sweet entries alongside these poems were almost my saviour. The whole collection was so real and relatable which only made you see yourself in these little moments of self help. It was a pat on the back without even knowing it. I would recommend this to any poetry lovers who are struggling; Sieghart has a remedy for you all. These rec ...more
Mahmoud Ayman
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
A light read and a great start for the year. I really loved how each poem is linked to a certain emotion and how they are used to help people find comfort/meaning in whatever they are going through. Some repetition was there, at least I felt like it, but overall it's a great and easy read. ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wordsy
I don't know a great deal about poetry and often feel that I 'don't get it'. This book is ideal for me! William Seighart has compiled a selection of poems for all sorts of emotional states and occasions. On the left-hand page are his thoughts about the piece and why someone might find it suitable for a particular time in their life. On the right-hand page is the poem itself.

I recognised some of the poems but many were new to me. An old favourite was The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry. In
May 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2020
A selection of poems arranged under the following broad topical headings:

- Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
- Motivations
- Self-Image and Self-Acceptance
- The World And Other People
- Love And Loss

The idea behind this collection is that a poem is offered as a prescription for some particular facet of the human experience. They are, to use the metaphor the author employs, like talking to someone who has 'the right words' to address and comfort you in your current situation. From the introduction:

seren✨ starrybooker
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
There’s nothing like reading a book and it being exactly what you needed at that exact moment. I think I’d have felt like that with this book at any time, but life’s been particularly hard lately and wow I really needed this. It’s not often I cry at books (let alone cry multiple times) but this is that sort of collection. And any book that includes my favourite Mary Oliver poem is an automatic winner from.
Caroline Middleton
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a gorgeous read. As someone who finds poetry intimidating, I really enjoyed the blend of poems prescribed for different emotional ailments with a bit of context from Sieghart about them, and how they apply to real life. This is mindful goodness; a worthy gift for you or any friend experiencing life’s ups and downs. Maybe not for the serious poetry fans, though.

My favourite poems: Ironing by Vicki Feaver and Atlas by U. A. Fanthorpe.

On Fear Of The Unknown: “When you really think ab
Deborah Allin
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I seriously want to find William Sieghart and give him a hug. This book is beyond any self help book in any genre really. It comprises a poem in conjunction with a piece of writing from Sieghart containing prescriptions for most all of our human malaises. I have found such relief in poetry during my journey through loss, pain, sadness, betrayal and depression. But this collection is truly special and loaded with sage wisdom from someone you just know has been there too and used his experience to ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i find it difficult to definitely mark this as ‘read’ because usually that means it’s over, but this is a book i constantly come back to. something about sieghart’s writing is so soothing: he puts into words the feelings swimming around my head and makes me feel a little less crazy. his poetry selections are perfect and there isn’t one i haven’t enjoyed in its own right.

god, i love this book.
Raphael Lysander
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
I believe the author focused too much on being diverse, and on being related to the topics literally, therefore, a good number of the poems were not beautiful or impressive- for a lot of good poetry puts us in a certain mood, inspire an idea, or draw a scene, but not necessarily be useful or solve anything.
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Food for the soul, medicine for the broken heart. Rediscovering poetry one line at the time.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is such a great anthology of poems, a book I will definitely keep referring back to when I need some reassurance or comfort in other people's words. ...more
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was one of those ‘love-at-first-Goodreads-search/sight’ books! The minute I saw it on the bookshelf and I read the title.. I know I was going to be hooked! It’s one of the best curated poetry collections I have come across! And what is even more invigorating is that there is another book - the poetry pharmacy returns!

If you are looking for a book that can identify with how you feel and help you define your condition.. and not only that, then have it (the book) offer you a piece of poetry t
Most of the poems in this are great. The premise of this book, however, is both bizarre and disturbing. On the one hand there is a certain reverence for art, which has modernist (well, Romantic) roots. On the other there is this instrumentalisation of poetry as therapy. I'm not even sure it's a proper bibliotherapy thing. It's just bizarre -- dependent on some very queer readings of poems -- and the assumption that poems can be 'prescribed' like pills is even more disturbing (he has curated them ...more
Menna Alashker
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
The poem selection was excellent, and most of the time it fits the diagnosis perfectly and you could really feel yourself resonating with the poem. My only issue, and that's why it didn't get the 5 stars, are the words that introduced each poem were somewhat repetitive which was a bit annoying.

Other than that, I enjoyed the poems very very much and this feels like a great segway into poetry if you are interested in going down that road. Something I also noticed, apart from the great variety of
Sir Readalot
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tldr; This book lives up to it's title!

• I'm a self help junkie (the worst kind!), and as a "responsible" adult I turn to books instead of getting professional help. Recently, thanks to my close friend, I started reading poetry and oh boy I was so lucky to stumble upon this book!

• The author has done a great job of curating poems for every common emotional problem, only to use them as a medicine.

• Subjectively speaking, most of the poems did wonders on me. And at times, I felt that some poems
Sam Farley
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As someone who had never previously appreciated poetry, this book was the perfect induction.

Sieghart even briefly covers how to read poetry to get the most out of the book, before delving into his ‘prescriptions’ to alleviate various mental woes (anxiety, loneliness, heartbreak, bereavement, etc.)

I didn’t enjoy (or fully understand) every poem, but there were plenty of wholesome works worthy of re-reading, or passing on to others, at times of sorrow.

I will be buying the sequel.
Sandeep Barua
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
We all have a book that we hold very fondly. This is the one for me.

It was an impulsive buy while I was visiting the famed 'Shakespeare and Company' bookstore just a few steps from the Seine, Notre Dame in Paris. I took it to gift somebody. Eventually, the person moved on, but the book stayed with me.

Within its pages are short poems by Tolkien, Kipling, Larkin, Keats, Rumi, and others. Even more than the timeless poems, I feel the commentary of the author on each of them is exquisite - each wor
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poetry
A very precious anthology that everyone should own. When things aren’t going to plan I’m a natural consumer of poetry but of course there is a poem to match every mood but perhaps poetry is at it best when it’s something complex bothering us.
Lauren Hancock
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Braden gave me this for Mother's Day and I love it! The concept is fun, the analyses are brief and thoughtful, and the poems themselves are gems. ...more
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A comforting addition to any bookshelf.
Natasha Chowdory
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Anyone who can take one of the most inaccessible forms of language and make it accessible and fun while still maintaining the joy and beauty of the content is a win in my book. My partner and I have spent many nights taking it in turns to read aloud poems to each other. Just to help us feel closer in the mess of 2020. And it works. We've had conversations about the poems, how we feel, if they're accurate etc

I strongly recommend this!!
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