From cardiology to couplets

Denise Bundred
Denise Bundred wins Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine (Health Professional). Credit: Hippocrates Initiative for Poetry and Medicine

Denise graduated from the MA focusing on mastering the art of poetry, after being encouraged by her tutor that her strengths lay in this form of writing.

Prior to starting the MA, Denise had retired from her consultant role and wanted to focus on something new. “I’ve always been interested in writing and had an outline for a radio play,” says Denise.

Denise’s work was nominated and won second prize in this year’s Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine (Health Professional) for her poem 'Addressing a Fetal Heart', judged by journalist Kate Adie.

She won the Hippocrates Prize in Poetry and Medicine (NHS) in 2016 and has poems published in Hippocrates Prize Anthologies (2012 - 2019), 'The Book of Love and Loss' (2014) and the Winchester Poetry Prize Anthology (2016). She has poems published in Envoi, Magma and Under the Radar poetry magazines.

Her pamphlet, focuses on the central theme of the heart. As discussed by Denise, “The heart is central to this pamphlet but it is the heart as the cardiologist sees it – the structure, its function and how it can fail.”

Denise addresses a child with a heart condition, a parent and people from history (Leonardo da Vinci, Aristotle and William Harvey) who have written about the heart. At times she is merely observing a surgeon, anaesthetist or a visitor on the ward. Occasionally the voice of a parent insists on being heard. The poems take the reader into the emergency room, clinic, children’s ward, operating theatre and intensive care unit to give a medical perspective that the reader may not previously have been aware of.”

Denise’s work with be published by Against the Grain Poetry Press in 2020, alongside pamphlets by Ben Cusden, Olga Dermott-Bond and Natalie Shaw.

Places are still available on the part-time MA Writing for a September start.


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