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Poetry Landmarks

Poems for the Waiting Room


(Public Art)


Poems for the Waiting Room offers poems selected chiefly (but not exclusively) for healthcare waiting rooms. The poems come as small posters for display. They can be put in frames, on notice-boards, in ring-binder files, on the wall above the photocopier, etc.

The collection currently available numbers 145 poems. Fifty of these were commissioned by the poet David Hart. All share and identify with the theme of waiting. Andrew Motion the Poet Laureate was one of those commissioned, Carol Ann Duffy another. This first phase of the project's development
was funded by the Poetry Society and the Arts Council.

The next fifty poems to be printed include ten poems especially for children. The collection as a whole is deliberately multi-ethnic. This second phase was funded by the King's Fund, the Arts Council and NHS Estates.

The most recent collection of 45 poems was launched by Andrew Motion in October 2005. It is entirely bilingual, offering poems in 35 different languages, each with its English translation printed alongside. Languages represented are: Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, Estonian, Farsi, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Mandarin Chinese, Persian, Polish, Punjabi, Slovakian, Slovenian, Somali, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese. Attending the launch were representatives from the Dept. of Health, the Dept. of Culture, Media and Sport, the Arts Council, the Foreign Office and the Mayor of London.The poets Fiona Sampson, Debjani Chatterjee and Stephen Watts played an important part in the selection of the poems

This most recent phase was funded by the Baring Foundation, the Department of Health Equalities and Human Rights Group, the Foreign Office and the Arts Council. Other funders in the project's history have included the Association of London Government (now London Councils).

All the poems mentioned above are still available. In most cases, we like to send the full collection of 145 poems to those interested, to ensure the widest possible choice and the option of rotating the poems from time to time.

Future plans for the project include adding African languages and more European languages to the "Diversty Collection." We want to build a separate website, from which new poems from the collection can be downloaded. We are in the process of recording an audio version of some of the Diversity Poems and if new funding can be obtained, would like to offer larger sizes of poster, more suitable to large venues.

The poems come free, but postage has to be charged for. The aim is to make them available across the NHS and beyond,
including schools and libraries.

An evaluation of the project can be found on www.hyphen-21.org.

Contact Information

name: Rogan Wolf
phone: 0208-542-5347
email: r.wolf@hyphen-21.org
website: www.hyphen-21.org

Bishop Creighton House,
378 Lille Road



Poetry Society 2003
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