This week the #DundeeUniCulture blog is holding a ‘Well Together’ week-long event starting from today. Throughout the week, all blog posts will focus on mindfulness and well-being activities that our staff and students have been doing in order to look after themselves and the community during this difficult time. Our first ‘Well Together’ post comes from University of Dundee’s very own Learning and Teaching Librarian Andy Jackson, who has been using poetry as a way to document and reflect on the current lockdown and virus response. Andy has been working on his own web poetry project, ‘New Boots and Pantisocracies: Poetry for an Infected World’, where he has been posting contributions from many different poets as they react and reflect on the current situation.

Particularly pertinent at this time is that Andy has recently had a poem published in NHS Poetry Anthology ‘These Are The Hands – Poems from the Heart of the NHS’. The poem was originally commissioned for the walls of the Medical School several years ago (and you can see it there if you’re ever in the Blue Promenade area). Below you can view the original poem in situ at the university.

‘These Are The Hands’ is an anthology by NHS Staff about the NHS. This anthology offers a unique insight into the real experiences of the people at the heart of the NHS – from the student nurse at the start of his career to the heart surgeon on the eve of her retirement. We also hear the stories of those whose vital work is often unseen and unsung from domestic cleaning staff to sign language interpreters. The poems offer unflinchingly honest and intimate accounts from the people who care for us from the moment of birth to the end of life. In crystallising the most beautiful and painful moments of being human, they speak directly to all our experience. Above all these poems are about our shared humanity. They are about the compassion and care that lie at the heart of the NHS and in all our lives. They also serve as a stark reminder of the human cost of trying to offer compassionate care in a system that is underfunded and understaffed and the importance of showing the same compassion and support to the staff we depend on to hold the NHS together.

You can buy the anthology here for £9.99 or an ePub edition is available for £5 here. All proceeds from the book will go to NHS Charities Together, which supports over 135 official NHS Charities raising money for NHS hospitals, ambulance services, community and mental health services across the UK.

Invitation to a live recital of poems from the anthology – Thursday 21st May at 8.15pm
In order to celebrate this amazing anthropology which is so particularly important during this time, there will also be a live event for the book via Zoom, where contributors will be live and reciting their contributions to the anthology. This will be a free public event for all to celebrate the anthology and to invite responses from the public via #PoetryForNHS. The live Zoom event will be held on Thursday 21st May 2020 at 8.15pm, and you can register via Eventbrite at www.poetryforNHS.co.uk

In the meantime, you can also hear a poem from the anthology, as read by Sophie Raworth for the BBC below.

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