treated by the book
the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) are to be given food
for thought next week, when they receive a poem with their
lunch as part of arts week. The idea comes from writer-in-residence
Mandy Sutter, who has been selecting poems to be sent
to 800 patients each day.
who teaches creative writing and journalism at the School
of Continuing Education at the University of Leeds, has
been talking to patients about their lives, and writing
poems based on their experiences. She then gives the poem
to the patient for their response and feedback.
therapy Ė Mandy Sutter visits Sylvia Knight during her
I first took on the post, I imagined I would be encouraging
patients to write. However, hospital is not a very conducive
atmosphere to write in Ė patients are often upset and
frightened, and there is little peace, quiet or privacy.
The writings I have received have generally been written
after patients have returned home, and had time to reflect
on their experiences here.
writing the poems, Iíve been very careful not to simply
use patientsí lives as material for my art. I try to make
it a two-way process, giving the poem back to them. Itís
turned out to be very therapeutic, and many nurses have
been positive about the project as they see an improvement
in patients after speaking to me, which is wonderful."
Ms Sutter herself
has published both poetry and short stories, and is currently
working on her second novel. The residency with the teaching
hospitals will finish at the end of May, but she is hoping
funding can be found to continue. Many of the wards involved
want to contribute funds themselves, and decisions are
expected soon on applications to the Lottery and other