Final call for your favourite poetry and prose on ageing!

Shane O’Hanlon is a consultant geriatrician at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. He is editor of the upcoming second volume of Emergence: a celebration of the wisdom and resilience of ageing, along with Zoe Wyrko and Paul Finucane.

Who do you think wrote the best poem on ageing? Could it be Yeats, Keats, Frost, Cope, Barrett Browning, Wordsworth, or even Shakespeare? What about the best piece of prose? Would you nominate Maya Angelou, Charles Dickens, Jonathan Swift, or Atul Gawande?

These are the questions we have asked BGS members to consider over the past few months, as we plan the sequel to our 2020 anthology of poetry and prose, 'Emergence'. The idea behind the book was that we should celebrate the positives of ageing, at a time when older people have been subjected to serious challenges and ageist commentary.

To counter the negativity around ageing, we compiled a 240-page book with nominations from health professionals who work with older people. The first volume focused on geriatricians, and with this sequel we now invite all health professionals with an interest in ageing to contribute (you don’t have to be clinical, or working in an age-related role).

We raised 10,000 euros for charity from the first book, and received rave reviews from newspapers and talk shows. This demonstrated that there is a need to remind people of the positives of ageing. With other important publications such as BGS member Dr Lucy Pollock’s 'The Book About Getting Older' and Professor Louise Aronson’s 'Elderhood', due attention is finally being given to the needs of older people. We feel strongly that all health workers have been touched by positive experiences with older people, so we hope to receive some more submissions to add to the 60 we already have.

You don’t have to be a poet, or an academic, or have any background in the arts! If you like a piece of writing that celebrates ageing, then send it to us at paul [dot] finucane [at] ul [dot] ie

We do ask that you also write a short introduction of about 100-200 words explaining why you chose the piece. Did it remind you of your nan? Did reading it teach you something about old age? Perhaps a patient wrote it and you would like to see it get wider recognition. We are interested in anything and everything! Those who contributed to Volume 1 really enjoyed the experience and found it a great distraction from their clinical workload. So hopefully you will too!

Emergence 2 will be released in time for Christmas 2021, and all profits will go to age-related charities. So please do join us with your suggestions as we celebrate the wisdom and resilience of ageing.

You can read more about the project here:


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