At the London launch of The Hippocrates Book of the Heart.

The Hippocrates Book of the Heart was launched in London on Wednesday 6th December 2017. See the programme.

This book, published by the Hippocrates Press on behalf of the Hippocrates Initiative for Poetry and Medicine, was made possible by the support of the healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust.

The book brings together eighty contemporary poets of the English-speaking world and a dozen medical experts from around the globe to offer their perspectives on the heart.

Many of the contributors were in London for the launch of the book.


The Hippocrates Book of the Heart was edited by Wendy French, Michael Hulse and Donald Singer


ISBN 978-0-9935911-1-2 UK: £12 Ireland: €15 US: $18 CAN: $24 AUS: $24 NZ: $30

Order a printed copy of the book       Order the eBook

The CVRT, founded in 1996, educates health professionals, policy makers and the public about effective ways to prevent and treat serious disorders of the heart and the circulation.

Since ancient times, the heart has been understood as the seat of the emotions, of the will, even of the soul. Over time, a fuller medical understanding of the organ has gradually evolved too, with Harvey’s first complete account of the circulation of the blood and the heart’s role (1628) and the 50th anniversary this week of Dr. Christiaan Barnard’s first successful heart transplant (1968) marking key moments in a history that has given us a much better understanding of our hearts – and how to ensure they stay healthy.

In compiling this book, the editors invited poets around the English-speaking world, both prominent and less well-known, to contribute poems about the heart, written from any perspective, whether clinical or fanciful, medical or metaphorical. Among the poets are Griffin Poetry Prize winners Roo Borson and David Harsent, Forward Prize winners Sean O’Brien, Hilary Menos and Nick Mackinnon, former New Zealand Poets Laureate Elizabeth Smither and C. K. Stead, former National Poet of Wales Gwyneth Lewis, and President of PEN International Jennifer Clement. They are joined by many other distinguished and rising poets, including Robert Gray, John Kinsella, Peter Goldsworthy, Stephen Edgar and Geoffrey Lehmann from Australia; Anna Jackson, Jenny Bornholdt and Chris Price from New Zealand; Grace Schulman, Rafael Campo, Matthew Thorburn, Debora Greger and Jeffrey Harrison from the US; Marilyn Bowering and Kenneth Sherman from Canada; Justin Quinn, Mary O’Donnell and John F. Deane from Ireland; and Jane Draycott, Philip Gross, Mimi Khalvati, Lawrence Sail and Penelope Shuttle from the UK.

Leading medical professionals whose practice and research has led them to a keen interest in the health of the heart contribute information and advice to the book. In clear, crisp mini-essays they illuminate the nature of heart disease, the key risk factors, the history of cardiac surgery, and the most important steps every one of us can take in trying to maintain a healthy heart. Our medical professionals, based in Russia, Finland, The Netherlands, France, the UK, Australia and Hong Kong, agree in their core message: maintaining a healthy heart is possible for every one of us, and is crucial to our overall health and well-being throughout our lives.

The result is that rare thing, a book that satisfies the Horatian dictum that writing should both delight and instruct.

Toronto Heart panel

Makom, Toronto, 16.11.17:
Donald Singer, Ron Charach, Kenneth Sherman, Roo Borson,
Kim Maltman, Ronna Bloom and Alisha Kaplan

The Canadian launch of the book was held at Makom in Toronto on Thursday 16th November. The programme included readings by Canadian poets Alisha Kaplan, Kenneth Sherman, Roo Borson and Kim Maltman. There was also a lively discussion panel on “More poetry: just what doctors and the public need?” In addition to the above poets the panel was joined by poet and psychotherapist Ronna Bloom and poet and psychiatrist Ron Charach and co-chairs Alisha Kaplan and Donald Singer.

See more about the Toronto launch of the Heart book

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