Body & Illness: The Language of Empathy Studio

Body & Illness: The Language of Empathy Studio

Consider poetic, and empathetic, responses to human fragility, illness, and mortality.

The body and its relationship with illness have been prevailing poetry themes for many years. We have witnessed how poetry explores the language of the body, illness, and empathy – from Rilke’s ‘The Archaic Torso of Apollo’ to Dannie Abse’s collection, White Coat, Purple Coat (1989); in Greek mythology, Hermes holds the caduceus and lyre, symbolically illustrating the bond between healing the body and nourishing the creative imagination.  

In this Studio course, we will explore how poetry responds to human fragility and deepens our engagement with the existential questions of illness and mortality. We will look at works by Dannie Abse, Max Ritvo, Pascale Petit, Kaveh Akhbar, Cirilio F. Bautista, Naomi Shihab Nye, and more. We will develop ways of writing in our own language of empathy and discover how poetry explores the intricate interstices of pathographies that link human suffering with the possibilities of healing and restoration. 

Studios are 4 week intensive courses. Reading material will be distributed before the course begins. There are no live chats so they are suitable for both UK & International students. 

For more information visit our Online Courses page.

Image credit: Anne Nygård

About Romalyn Ante View Profile

Romalyn Ante (b. 1989) grew up in the Philippines until she migrated to the UK when she was 16 years old. She is a West Midland-based poet and co-founding editor of harana poetry. Her debut collection is Antiemetic for Homesickness (Chatto & Windus).  

She is the first East-Asian to win the Poetry London Prize (2018) as well as the Manchester Poetry Prize (2017). Her debut pamphlet, Rice & Rain (V. Press), received the 2018 Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet. She has been commissioned by several organisations such as Birmingham Literature Festival, Southbank Centre, and Verve Poetry Festival, and ran a number of poetry workshops including those for The Poetry School, Royal College of Nursing, UniSlam, and Writing West Midlands. 

Apart from being a writer, she also works as a specialist nurse practitioner. 


‘It (Poetry School) has enlivened my life for years, It has given me the opportunity to write different poetry with every course. I would hate to be without it.’

– Summer 2020 survey response

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