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Library Service Blog

Wellbeing Wednesday - P is for poems

by Carl Lomax on 2022-08-24T09:25:38+01:00 in Library | Comments

Welcome to Wellbeing Wednesday in the Library! 

Each Wednesday, we will be blogging about different aspects of wellbeing and connecting you with books or web-based information to help support your wellbeing. This week P is for poetry and the magic that lies within words! 

Poem a day… keeps the doctor away? 

How many of us reach for poetry when we need a boost, a nudge of motivation or an inspiring thought to hang our day on? If it’s not a habit you have, it’s worth looking into. Perhaps many people may remember poetry from schooldays- an uninspiring analysis of similes and metaphors, assonance, and alliteration which seemed distant, irrelevant, removed from life.

In actuality, good poets can distil a thought you’ve had and communicate an idea so succinctly that you read it and it seems obvious to you that you also had that thought, though you were never quite able to express it fully. That moment of recognition is magic when you experience poetry. Poems have the capacity to move us, lift our mood, give us new perspectives and take us out of ourselves. 

  If you don’t believe this, listen to Maya Angelou as she speaks her poem and Still I rise.  


It’s a poem that can make you laugh and make your spine tingle. Her voice has warmth-she’s playful, defiant and sassy. 


Photo of Maya Angelou by By York College ISLGP -
CC BY 2.0, 

If you prefer more modern spoken word poetry listen to Anthony Anaxagorou’s poem Give Hope. 

He makes the ordinary extraordinary and his tone is rousing, outraged and moving in his rapid-fire rap style. 


It doesn’t take long to start your day with a poem. You can take them from a book such as: 

·         Esiri, A & Goldhawk, Z. (2017). A poem for every day of the year. Macmillan. 

·         Armitage. S. (2002). Short and sweet : 101 very short poems. Faber. 

It’s great to start your day with a mindful moment: have a quiet coffee and read (or listen to) a poem to start your day in a calm and centred way. You can find a poem on any topic or for any occasion. A random search for poems using the keywords: butter, alone, ink, pizza, happy hour found a poem for each keyword!  

Find poems on various themes on the Poetry Foundation website plus curated collections, podcasts and interviews. Find out more at: 



Finally, a little performance poetry inspiration for today- listen to the lovely, lilting rhythms of Linton Kwesi Johnson as he stirs his audience with If I Was A Top Notch Poet. 


Inspired to find out more?

For more poetry inspiration check out these website too: 





  Watch the BBC 2 episode from the Imagine: Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. 

·         You can access the recording in Box of Broadcasts. 

·         If you have not used the service before, you will need to register and this service is only available for Sheffield Hallam students and staff. 

  Read some books: 

·         Angelou. Maya. (2020). And still I rise. Virago. 

·         Lehóczky, Piette, A., Sansom, A., & Sansom, P. (2012). The Sheffield anthology : poems from the city imagined. Smith/Doorstop. 

Learn how to capture your feelings: 

·         Anaxagorou. A. (2020). How to...write it : work with words. #Merky. 


Our wellbeing levels can differ at different times and it is OK to ask for support.

Each of us may prefer to get support in different ways. Reading or researching around an issue, connecting with a group whether it be in person on online or speaking on a one to basis with a trusted ally.  Find out more about Student wellbeing, support and activities at:


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