Poet in Residence

For a quick fix from our Poet in Residence Beth Calverley, click on these links. To find out more, read on.

In the Hospital Bay

A poem written after a visit to South Bristol Community Hospital, before lockdown.  

The Little Things 

 

Watch Beth's beautiful poem called 'The Little Things', which she performs here with her musical collaborator Bethany M. Roberts

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It's all about the importance of looking after one another at this time of year, and was inspired by conversations with patients at SBCH and our lead dementia practitioner, Rachel Price.

The Toughest Shield

A poem for young people who have been shielding. Created with the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre.

When you see a typewriter, do you hear the clacking of the keys? Do you hear the whizz ding of the carriage return or the crank of the roller as the paper is pulled out?

 

A manual typewriter is the essential tool of our Poet in Residence, Beth Calverley. Beth is part of the Arts and Culture team. Her post is supported by Above & Beyond and Weston Area Health NHS Trust Charitable Funds. She works across all ten sites at UHBW connecting patients, carers and staff through writing, reading and co-creating poetry. 

 

Beth conjures poems from ideas that come from private conversations. She types each poem just once, reads it aloud, seals it in an envelope, and hands it over. Lots of poems are requested as ‘thank you’ gifts for colleagues and loved ones.

 

When she was invited back for a second year, Beth said: “Co-creating poetry with UHBW staff members, patients, carers and families, often during life-changing times, is a whole-hearted honour and I'm joyful that it has been so well-received by the Trust. Poetry and creative writing are gentle, powerful sources of meaning that can help people to notice, express and process what is important to them, from people to places, past to future. I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues in the Trust, enabling more explorations of memories, ideas, stories and poems in a rainbow of imaginative, supportive ways."

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Poetry in the pandemic

Credit: Amanda Thomas for Oh Magazine

During the pandemic, Beth has been offering digital sessions: Pause and Reflect for staff, Dial a Poet for patients, and workshop sessions with teams. Details of how to book these can be found on the Arts and Culture page on the UHBW intranet (Connect) or by emailing artsandculture@uhbw.nhs.uk.

The poem Thread was written to accompany the Heart to Heart campaign which connects patients to their loved ones while visiting is restricted. See a video about the project and hear a reading of the poem here.

Thread

 

At times like this,

we know your seams

 

are coming loose

and every stitch of normal life

 

must feel like glass -

but we are here, beside them,

 

and we’re here for you,

so whisper

 

all your wishes

to this two-way heart.

 

We’ll take them

by the hand

 

and hold them

by their name;

 

we’ll pass along

your thoughts

 

like telegrams of home,

for there’s a thread

 

so delicate

it never breaks:

 

the promise

that no-one

 

will ever

be alone.

 

Beth Calverley

bristol-hospitals-heart-to-heart-credit-

Photo: Featuring Ellie Tizzard and Tahlia Williamson, intensive care unit nurses at the BRI. Image credit: 

https://www.bristol247.com/news-and-features/news/bristol-nurses-launch-campaign-to-connect-families-with-their-loved-ones/

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Intensive care nurses Ellie Tizzard and Tahlia Williamson at Bristol BRI founded the Heart to Heart campaign. The hearts bring hope and connection to patients and their families, at a time when care, compassion, and connection is needed more than ever. Thank you Ellie and Tahlia. 

 

You can read more about the incredible Heart to Heart campaign over on Bristol 24/7. 

Brave Faces and Other Smiles

On 2nd December Beth Calverley launched her first professionally published anthology, ‘Brave Faces and Other Smiles’.