Prescribing Poems in Hospital Waiting Rooms, a short article on LitHub
Here is an excerpt from a piece I wrote on prescribing poetry in hospital waiting rooms. It was originally published in Write, the Magazine of the Writers' Union and appeared on the Literary Hub on April 5, 2016. "Last month I spent the day in the waiting room. This could be the rallying cry of millions of citizens all over the world. Actually, I spent the day in three waiting rooms of the Joint Department of Medical Imaging (JDMI) in three hospitals across Toronto prescribing poems, offering them to those who were truly waiting.
In the first waiting room there was a table set up and I had a sign, like Lucy in Peanuts, that said, “The Poet is IN.” But people in waiting rooms are deeply immersed—in waiting. They’re immersed in worry or their eyes are on the door, and they would rarely approach a stranger, let alone a poet. So I got up in my white coat with poems printed on prescription pads and moved around.
If a person looked at me, I’d say hello, tell them who I was, and ask if they wanted a poem. Some smiled and said “I’m good.” Meaning “no thanks.” Many responded with curiosity—”a poem?”—and sometimes even interest." Read the article here.