Dee McLaren, Stewart Hill and Karl Tearney talk to Oliver Poole
Vetrans of Conflict Discuss the Therapeutic Power of Poetry
One hundred years on from the end of the First World War, poetry remains as potent and inspirational as ever for the casual reader, but also holds a therapeutic power for those who have come through conflict. Three survivors of recent wars talk candidly to former war correspondent Oliver Poole about coming face to face with death. They will then read out some of the poetry they subsequently wrote to help put their lives back together. McLaren, who served in the military police, talks about her sense of helplessness as a “sitting duck” when embedded with the infantry in Iraq and how it haunted her return to the UK; Hill, who suffered a severe head wound in action, tells how poetry aided his recovery; and Tearney, discharged from the army air corps with PTSD after 34 years, explains why he calls poetry his “greatest therapy”. All three are inspiring examples of the healing power of the arts. They are supporting the national Poem to Remember competition, backed by Prince William, to uncover a new war poem for a new generation. The five-strong shortlist, selected from more than 5,000 entries received, will be announced at the end of the session.