Edited by Wendy French, Michael Hulse and Donald Singer
Since ancient times, the heart has been understood as the seat of the emotions, of the will, even of the soul. A fuller medical understanding of its function has evolved gradually through history, but the rational and the not-so-rational views of the heart all have their place in a rounded understanding of an organ both vital and revered.
In compiling this book, made possible by the generous support of The Cardiovascular Research Trust The Healthy Heart Charity, the editors invited poets around the world, both prominent and up-and-coming, to donate poems about the heart, written from any perspective, whether clinical or fanciful, medical or metaphorical. Among the eighty poets in the book are C. K. Stead, Gwyneth Lewis, David Harsent, Roo Borson, Elizabeth Smither, Robert Gray, Grace Schulman, Rafael Campo, John Kinsella, Peter Goldsworthy, Jennifer Clement, Marilyn Bowering, Philip Gross, Debora Greger and Mimi Khalvati.
They are joined by leading medical professionals whose practice and research has led them to a keen interest in the health of the heart, and they contribute information and advice to help every one of us maintain a healthy heart. The result is that rare thing, a book that satisfies the Horatian dictum that writing should both delight and instruct.
Cover image of an echocardiogram courtesy of Dr. Joseph Gascho.
For more information about the Hippocrates Initiative and its annual international symposium on poetry and medicine, the Hippocrates Prize, and the Hippocrates Society, visit www.hippocrates-poetry.org.