Last week the BBC published a tantalizing review of a new book by William Sieghart, The Poetry Pharmacy. The review starts with a quote by Alan Bennett out of the book’s introduction:

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something—a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things—which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”

Do you know that feeling? When you read some text or hear a song or see a piece of graphic design that resonates with you so intimately that you feel like you’re suddenly right next to its creator?

Art makes this miraculous connection happen for us. Art dissolves the limits of space and time, providing us an illusion (or a glimpse of the truth) that we’re all closer than we think.

So if that excerpt of the introduction weren’t enough to make me want to read the rest of it, the book has a beautiful cover.


The P’s look like interlocked arms, like people did when drinking to some promise. With the centered stacking, the horizontal bars, the outlining of the graphics and the all caps text, and the generous margins, the overall look resembles an engraved doric column. It is a dignified, Roman look, reminding us of the respectability of an apothecary’s shop.

But I can’t offer any commentary on the interiors yet, because The Poetry Pharmacy isn’t available in the U.S. until February 27, 2018. That’s fine. Good things are even better with a little delay. Anticipation is part of the joy. I hope the book is cloth-bound.

Meanwhile, this has inspired me to curate a pharmacy of sorts on my own—but probably of books, rather than single poems. Stay tuned.