New hospital poet writing up a storm

19 October 2020

New hospital poet writing up a storm
Slam-winning poet Keith Jarrett has been chosen as the new Poet in Residence for a remote creative programme across our hospitals.

The six-month residency will see Jarrett working with both patients and staff to document their experiences during the pandemic. His collaborative poetry writing project, In Touch, will explore and identify shared ideas and recurring themes amongst the participants. We plan for the collaborative project to result in an onsite display, alongside a printed and digital anthology.

Unlike previous Artist in Residence programmes, Jarrett will be supporting patients and staff remotely, using video call platforms such as Zoom, and sending creative resources by post.

Kate Pleydell, Arts Engagement Manager at Imperial Health Charity said: “With a number of our Artist in Residence projects on hold due to the pandemic, we wanted to deliver something that lent itself to being remote.

We were particularly thinking about patients who had limited access to technology, and about a project that could function via the post or phone.”

For Jarrett, poetry provides a safe collaborative space where individuals can use words to connect with one another. He recognises that it has never been more important for people to stay connected and that expressing oneself is not only a luxury, but a necessity.

Jarrett said, “Growing up, poetry gave me the sense of being part of a community. It can be a way of putting language to feeling, it can be cathartic, it can be a way of finding new ways to look at the world, or it can simply be a playful activity.

In all of these cases, I've found that giving yourself permission to write is a freeing experience, and one that can be meaningful and transformative on a personal level.

What I most love about writing poetry is that unexpected things often crop up, and so I really hope that we can find a few surprises, too.”

Find out more about our Patient Engagement Programme here.

A huge thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund for funding this position.