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National Poetry Day founder to bring healing poetry to libraries

PUBLISHED: 15:53 28 February 2014 | UPDATED: 15:53 28 February 2014

William Sieghart, founder of National Poetry Day

William Sieghart, founder of National Poetry Day

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»William Sieghart, founder of National Poetry Day, is hosting two special library events in the borough next week.

William is bringing his renowned Poetry on Prescription tour to the borough to raise awareness of what he calls the healing power of 
poetry.

During his two-hour appearances, at Barking Library and Dagenham Library, William will read from his anthology and talk about poetry’s ability to relieve life’s difficult moments by reducing alienation.

He will also be giving private consultations to “prescribe” a poem for people based on their fears and 
anxieties.

‘Fertile ground’

William said: “I realised this was fertile ground. People who are very connected to poetry tend to find it in times of need.

“It is a very isolating time for people, despite all the technology we have. If you can find the right kind of poem, it can give you complicity for the way you feel.”

William has been a pioneer in the world of poetry for more than 20 years, notably as the founder of the Forward Prizes for Poetry, an award won by some of today’s most revered writers.

His latest initiative, Winning Words, was a public art project with an accompanying anthology, coinciding with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

He said: “It’s a sort of highlights book, like the Top of the Pops of poetry. I came up with Winning Words as an anthology of my favourite poems.

“I thought alongside the Olympics that our greatest cultural export is our language.”

Cllr Hardial Singh Rai , Mayor of Barking and Dagenham, said: “This is a unique event.

“It is a great chance for people to come along and check into the poetry pharmacy to get a perfect prescription, as well as checking out the other great facilities on offer at our outstanding libraries.”

William will visit Barking Library on March 3 between 7pm and 9pm and Dagenham Library on March 4 between 2pm and 4pm.

Those attending can buy William’s anthology for the discounted price of £6.

Each purchase will come with a voucher giving £5 off a treatment costing more than £20 at the Barking Bathhouse.

n Tickets are free and individual appointments, limited to 15 per venue, may be booked in advance by calling 020 8724 8722.

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