A poetic reverie in a busy day

Menu of Poems is a short anthology of poetry which is distributed to health service users in a range of healthcare settings. This annual initiative, delivered in partnership with Poetry Ireland, aims to provide access to contemporary poetry for health service users, staff and the wider hospital community. Creating a space for poetic reverie in the course of a health service user’s day in hospital or elsewhere, Menu of Poems is a simple, creative and practical way of giving more people the opportunity to enjoy and be uplifted by poetry.

Menu of Poems 2022 was curated by poet Rita Ann Higgins and produced by Saolta Arts on behalf of Arts and Health Co-ordinators Ireland, supported by Poetry Ireland and HSE Health Promotion and Improvement, and was delivered to over 10,000 people in healthcare settings. The anthology includes a poem by well-known singer Imelda May called ‘Stargazer’, ‘Eliza Analyser’ by Catherine Ann Cullen, ‘Gazebo’ by Martina Evans and ‘Lucky Mrs Higgins’ by Rita Ann Higgins. Recordings of each poem, read by the poet, are available at https://saoltaarts.com/stories/menu-of-poems/

Originally devised by Waterford Healing Arts in celebration of Poetry Ireland’s All Ireland Poetry Day, Menu of Poems was first introduced to patients at University Hospital Waterford in 2009. In 2010, it was rolled out across five healthcare settings affiliated with Arts and Health Co-ordinators Ireland (AHCI) and, since then, the project has been co-ordinated by Saolta Arts.