German Romanticist, author, mystic, and philosopher Novalis famously wrote, “Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.” Founders Elizabeth Bishop and Derek Walcott of Poetry Pharmacy are putting these words to the test with their new venture geared towards offering customers an unorthodox approach to treating surging levels of anxiety and mental distress.
What started off as a mobile poetry clinic running out of an ambulance truck, the whimsical dispensary is the first walk-in poetry on prescription, where ‘patients’ are alleviated of the emotional symptoms brought on by the complexities of modern life. A reimagining of conventional medicine, customers are discouraged from resorting to sleeping pills or multivitamins, and are instead given an antidote to suffering in the form of lyricism to soothe the ailments of the soul.
Customers can either make an appointment or walk in to meet with Poetry Pharmacists on staff who are ready to assuage patients’ internal struggles in The Consulting Room through examination and diagnosis, after which they will prescribe and concoct a handmade remedy to nourish and heal the particular emotional turmoil. The space comes equipped with The Distillery for reading and writing workshops, as well as The Dispensary Cafe, where ‘patients’ are prescribed tonics, tisanes, or various confectionary to lift the spirits without resorting to mood-stabilizers.
The Poetry Pharmacy is an innovative attempt at removing the stigma related to mental health, and seeks to creatively bridge the gap between awareness, social outreach, and provision. As an impact hub that hopes to curb the over-medicalization of psychotherapy and its effects, the pharmacy and its offbeat efforts are gaining social media traction.