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From sleepy Shropshire to London's Oxford Street ... Poetry Pharmacy branches out

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The unique Poetry Pharmacy, which has been dispensing poetry prescriptions as well as books and coffee from its home in the sleepy Shropshire town of Bishop's Castle for several years, is to open a branch in London’s bustling Oxford Street.

The new venture will be on the first floor of the cosmetics store and spa Lush, whose co-founder and CEO Mark Constantine is a poetry lover. He suggested the arrangement after the Poetry Pharmacy’s Deborah Alma, pictured, had been trying without success to find a suitable London premises.  

Deborah, whose Poetry Ambulance toured festivals, schools, libraries and conferences for a number of years before she set up her stall in Bishop's Castle, said: “We had a pop-up shop at Lush for three months, and now we’re planning to open from I June, with a coffee shop, bookselling, maybe spa days, and some poetry events as well.” As part of the collaboration Lush sometimes sells its bath bombs with poems inside them.

The Poetry Pharmacy makes its own poetry pills for different emotional ailments, sells books, runs poetry workshops and book clubs, and also has its own Physic Garden in Shropshire. Last month it was named a regional winner in the British Book Awards Independent Bookshop of the Year.

Deborah will be training staff in London, who may be able to do poetry consultations themselves eventually. She also revealed that she is working on a book with Mark Constantine about their “mentoring relationship … it’s going to be a very odd book!”

But she has no plans to move from Shropshire: “I quite like visiting London, and then coming home again!”


Background: 'I believe that in so many ways poetry can help with good mental health'




◄ Poetry for the Many: ed. Jeremy Corbyn, Len McCluskey

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M.C. Newberry

Sat 13th Apr 2024 19:12

As someone who patrolled Oxford Street W1 for many years from Marylebone Police Station, I can only praise the acumen
behind this very worthy endeavour and wish all parties involved the maximum success that their effort deserves in this famous
shopping street.

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