2022 FPM-Hippocrates Prize Open Commendations


Eye Pavilion
Ruth Aylett   Edinburgh, Scotland

In this poem, your routine bloods have come back normal
Kathryn Bevis   Weeke, Winchester, England

Slepen all the Nyght with Open Ye
Marilyn Bowering   Victoria, Canada

Woman Waking Early in Late Fall
Brian Brodeur   Richmond, USA

Elizabeth Eger   London, England

On Seeing A Kestrel After Reading About Hypoxia
Suzanna Fitzpatrick   Orpington, England 

Private Enterprise Takes Over the NHS
Nairn Kennedy   Cookridge, Leeds, England

in the pre-op assessment room
Laura McKee   Bexleyheath, England

Hilary Menos   Le Verdier, France

Don't Ask
Bryan Monte   Zeist, The Netherlands

beginner’s guide to gerontology
Mary Mulholland   London, England

Uncle Alan
Sue Norton   York, UK 

Thea Smiley   Bramfield, Halesworth, England 

confessions of a former germophile
Laura Theis   Oxford, England

Susan Utting   Wokingham, England

Before the Leaflet
Alison Wood   Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England

Biographies and inspiration for the poems

KBevis  Author Pic Colour

Kathryn Bevis is a neurodivergent poet and poetry teacher, was Hampshire Poet 2020-21, and is founder of The Writing School Online. She is the Selected Poet for Magma (the Solitude issue) and her poems have appeared widely in magazines and journals, including Poetry Wales, Poetry Ireland Review, Mslexia, The London Magazine, and The Interpreter’s House. Kathryn designs and delivers poetry courses for adults in mental health settings, substance-misuse recovery settings, and prisons. She is working towards her first collection.

And here’s a note on the inspiration for my poem: "I wrote ‘In this poem, your routine bloods have come back normal’ when my mother was going through treatment for colon cancer last year. I’m delighted to say she’s now well and regaining strength and fitness. In terms of the framing device I use here, where I imagine the world of the poem as a parallel universe in which difficult histories can be erased or rewound, I’m hugely indebted to Fiona Benson for her poem ‘Dear Comrade of the Boarding House.’"

Open brodeur headshot 2022

Brian Brodeur is the author most recently of the poetry collection Every Hour Is Late (Measure Press, 2019). New poems and literary criticism appear in Hopkins Review, Gettysburg Review, Literary Matters, Southern Review, and The Writer’s Chronicle. Brian lives with his wife and daughter in the Whitewater River Valley (USA). He teaches creative writing and American Literature at Indiana University East.  

Brian said: "Woman Waking Early in Late Fall emerged after a friend's father contracted COVID-19 and passed away during that initial 2020 surge. Like many of us unable to visit even the most seriously ill loved ones, I needed to do something while locked down that difficult year. The poem's blank-verse line, twelve-line stanzas, and occasional rhymes presented me at least with the illusion of control. In this respect, poetic form can be seen as useful--by providing us with, in Frost's terms, a temporary stay against confusion.

Elizabeth Eger

Elizabeth Eger is a poet and biographer from Vauxhall in London.  She has early-onset Parkinson’s disease and is working on Deep Brain Stimulation, a collection of poems that explores the treatment of the same name – a process that involves inserting electrodes into the brain.

On her poem M.R.I. she said: "I wanted to convey the experience of having a brain scan in an MRI machine.  The experience was intensely claustrophobic and yet curiously abstract at the same time.  My attempt to produce a brain ‘scan’ by arranging the words on the page in the shape of my head is an attempt to emphasise both the individuality and universality of the experience."

Suzanna Fitzpatrick Author portrait by Chris Kerrey IMG 5222-4

Suzanna Fitzpatrick has been widely published in magazines and anthologies, including Corvids and Others (Greatest Happiness), Beyond the Storm – Poems from the Covid-19 Era (Write Out Loud), Writing Motherhood (Seren), The Emma Press Anthology of Contemporary Gothic VerseThe Emma Press Anthology of Slow Things, Furies (For Books’ Sake), and Birdbook III (Sidekick Books). She has been commended in a number of competitions, was shortlisted for the 2019 Bridport and Ginkgo Prizes, longlisted for the 2018 National Poetry Competition, won second prize in the 2016 Café Writers and 2010 Buxton Competitions, and won the 2014 Hamish Canham Prize. Her poetry has been aired on BBC Radio 4, and her debut pamphlet, Fledglings, is published by Red Squirrel Press.

On the inspiration behind the poem she said: "I have long been a birdwatcher, and kestrels fascinate me with how they hang in mid-air – apparently effortlessly – in search of prey. Hovering in fact takes great effort, and it’s a gamble for them as to whether they will catch food to recoup the energy they expend. The tenuousness of their life – all life – also came to mind when reading an article in The Guardian about Covid-19-induced hypoxia, where oxygen levels in the body fall to dangerously low levels. A medic quoted in the article observed that, when a patient is in intensive care, they look like they are doing nothing, but their body is in fact expending huge amounts of metabolic effort just to survive: the equivalent of running a marathon for every day in ITU. As a marathon runner, this really struck me too. I wrote the poem in specular form, where the second stanza is a mirror image of the first. It is a deceptively tricky form, as it’s not simply a case of only writing one stanza then hoping for the best; both stanzas have to work independently as well as together. I enjoy that challenge, and also find it a good form for comparing two subjects, as here."

Nairn Kennedy photo

Nairn Kennedy is a Leeds-based poet whose work has appeared in Ambit, Orbis, Ink, Sweat & Tears, The North and Under The Radar. He's been a prizewinner in the Ilkley Literature Festival and London Magazine Competitions, has been longlisted in the National Poetry Competition, and commended in several others.

Nairn said: “The stanzas for this poem finally crystallised in their present form after a long and unhelpful hour wading through the endless telephone menu systems and interminable queues of a certain well-known bank. Most of us have boiled in frustration at the wasted time spent with these systems to deal with (or not) a short and simple request.

It’s comedy, but on another level, tragedy.’’

Laura McKee

Laura McKee began writing in her forties, quite by mistake. Her poems have now appeared in various journals, most recently in Under the Radar. She is currently studying for an MA in Writing Poetry with The Poetry School and Newcastle University. She has her first pamphlet due in 2023 with Against the Grain Press. Find her on Twitter: @LauraMcKee_Fyeh

About the poem she said: " I started running even later in life than I had started writing, to alleviate the effects of long term depression. It helped greatly, but unfortunately last year I had a fall while running. I was crossing the road to avoid oncoming walkers, observing social distancing, tripped up on the next pavement, and badly broke my arm. I needed an operation for a replacement elbow. The whole experience was made harder by Covid restrictions meaning nobody could come with me to hospital or visit me. However the staff at both Lewisham Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, were so wonderful and made all the difference. This poem is based on filling out forms in the Pre-op assessment room at QEH, Woolwich, very early in the morning, where a nurse did indeed sing the numbers of my weight to help her to remember them. I noticed how her doing so made things feel a lot better. I hope she might get to hear about this now!"

Hilary Menos large

Hilary Menos is a poet and editor. Her first collection, Berg (Seren, 2009), won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2010. Her second collection is Red Devon (Seren, 2013). Her most recent pamphlet, Human Tissue (Smith|Doorstop, 2020), was a winner in The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition 2019. She is editor of The Friday Poem https://thefridaypoem.com

She said: "I started to write Donor after I gave my son Linus one of my kidneys. He had been ill with kidney problems when he was very young and as a teenager his kidneys started to fail. After his appointment with the consultant where we were told he might need a transplant, I put my arm round him and said don’t worry, I’ll give you one of mine, and so the decision was made. I remember being wheeled into theatre — it was all rather surreal. My pamphlet ‘Human Tissue’ is about my experiences of living kidney donation, the stories of some of the people who made organ transplants possible, and the wider issue of who to pray to in times of crisis, and indeed whether to pray at all. The transplant was in 2014. I finally finished Donor in 2021.

Mary Mulholland 2022-01-04 at 18.18.13

Mary Mulholland’s poems are widely published in magazines and anthologies, such as London Grip, AMBIT, MIR, Aesthetica, Under the Radar, and Fenland Poetry Journal. She's recently been placed in Kent and Sussex poetry prize, Sentinel, was highly commended in AMBIT’s 2021 Competition, and longlisted in the Bedford prize.Her debut pamphlet, What the Sheep Taught Me, is shortly being published by Live Canon and a collaborative  with Simon Maddrell and Vasiliki Albedo (All About Our Mothers) was published this year by Nine Pens.  Former journalist and psychotherapist, she lives in London. www.marymuolholland.co.uk @marymulhol

About the inspiration for 'beginner’s guide to gerontology’ she said: "I’ve recently been thinking and writing about ageing. Some say Old Age is only for the brave. It also seems to be rife with cliche and prejudice – that a lot of the old seem to go along with. In a world that reveres youth, I want to speak out against the invisibility that is often afforded to the old, and speak up for the possibilities of what living a long life can offer, eg keeping an overview.  Even to let us be more moon-like: where old-young notions coexist."

Hippocrates, Sue Norton commended

Sue Norton is a poet from York and a member of York Stanza. She has been published in various magazines and anthologies. This is the third time she has been commended in the Hippocrates Open Competition.

The poem Uncle Alan was inspired by her mother’s stories of an eccentric but much-loved family character.

Thea Smiley Open

Thea Smiley is a poet and playwright from Suffolk, UK. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and commended in the Spelt and Sonnet or Not competitions. Her poems have been published in Spelt, Street Cake, Obsessed with Pipework, The Ofi Press, The Cannon’s Mouth, and are forthcoming in The Alchemy Spoon.

Signs was written shortly after the unexpected death of her father in Mexico in 2019. It was inspired by her time in hospital with him, and includes the translated notes from his EEG scan.

2022 Laura Theis author pic

Laura Theis' work appears in PoetryRattleStrange Horizons, Aesthetica, Mslexia and many others. Her debut 'how to extricate yourself' (Dempsey&Windle) won the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize, was nominated for an Elgin Award, and chosen as an Oxford Poetry Book of the Month. An AM Heath Prize recipient and Forward Prize nominee, her other accolades include the EAL Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize, the Hammond House International Literary Award, and the Mogford Short Story Prize. She was a finalist for over forty other international literary awards including the Mairtín Crawford Awards, the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest, the Alpine Fellowship, the BBC Short Story Award, and the UK National Poetry Competition. She lives and procrastinates in Oxford. http://lauratheis.weebly.com/

About confessions of a former germophile she said: "In the middle of the pandemic, there was a moment where I found myself wiping down every single item from my grocery shop with antibacterial wipes and it suddenly hit me how absurd all of this would have seemed to my younger self. And it made me reflect on the kind of child I had been, pretty reckless and fearless in the face of any and all germs. And how different it must be to be a kid growing up during these times when there is such a fear and awareness about the dangers of infections. And I think the poem was born out of this contrast of my former carelessness and all my new anxieties.”

Susan Nutting poets' cafe reading Feb 2020

Susan Utting’s poetry has been widely published, including in The Times, TLS, The Forward Book of Poetry, The Poetry Review and Poems on the Underground. Her prizes and awards include an Arts Council Laureateship, a Poetry Business Prize, The Berkshire Poetry Prize, The Peterloo Prize, and a writing fellowship at Reading’s School of English and American Literature. Susan taught poetry and creative writing at Reading and Oxford Universities for more than 17 years and now works freelance as workshop leader/mentor and poetry performer.  Half the Human Race: New & Selected Poems is her latest publication from Two Rivers Press. www.susanutting.com

She said: "The inspiration for my Hippocrates Prize commended poem, Ingathering, came while putting together poems for a pamphlet exploring my experience of being sent to boarding school aged 4-rising 5. Having loved words and been an early, eloquent talker, the trauma of school rendered me unable to speak: “selectively mute”. As an adult working with language and words in poetry, I have also suffered with a form of migraine with temporary aphasia as a symptom. This poem explores these feelings and shows a strategy of “hoarding words against their disappearances”, while referencing the Jewish tradition the feast of Ingathering, or of Tabernacles.

Alison Wood

Alison Wood was privileged to be a registered nurse for 37 years. Her passion was in sexual healthcare and later in safeguarding.  She feels the art of nursing, the science of medicine and the written word belong together and her with them. Alison completed an MA in Creative Writing in 2012. She has explored the actual, the factual, the fictional, the stereotypical, the experiential and the abstract in areas of healthcare, exploring themes of the most intimate human interactions, from the microscopic to the universal. 

Her poem was based on a true incident when she was a newly qualified Staff Nurse in the mid 1980s. Alison is now retired, sea swimming and enjoying a new focus on writing.


onion © Hippocrates initiative 2012: hippocrates.poetry@gmail.com