The isolation, exhaustion and frustration of many staff in Salisbury District Hospital at the height of the pandemic have now been transformed into works of art, thanks to poet Martin Figura.

In a special project commissioned by Salisbury NHS Trust, Figura became the hospital's poet in resident in March this year.

He was there to help the staff and volunteers deeply affected by the pandemic work through their experiences and create an artistic record of them.

He has donned PPE, interviewed staff, and run workshops with staff, volunteers, and members of the community to understand the emotional impact of the pandemic and produce more than 20 new pieces of work.

Figura said when the project was suggested to him, he "jumped at the chance".

"It was overwhelming at times, in a good way, which means it was a worthwhile thing to do, I think," Figura said.

"The sense I got from it was that I was doing something worthwhile."

He used more than 20 hours of interviews - "spoken history" - of people talking about their experiences, blended with his own lived experience, anxieties, and encounter with the virus.

Figura travelled down from his home town Norwich to experience the environment for himself: "I came down because I wanted to get a feel for the place, as people tell you what has happened but there are the sorts of things that you stop noticing in everyday life that adds a bit of colour and makes it real to the readers - the sounds and the smells and the talking.

"You're trying to take that experience and make it into a different thing, like you would a photograph or a painting or a song. It's about a thing, but it's not the thing.

"Poetry is very good at that. Covid was a very overwhelming, big thing, and poems are small things and they have a shape, and so if you make a number of them, it can go some way to giving some sort of sense and an understanding of what we've been through."

He explained the way he transformed the large-scale global pandemic and individual experiences in the hospital into poems: "So we have all the abstract, bigger-picture stuff, and then I was hearing these individual, small, human stories, and what happens is one thing adheres to another.

"It could be a piece of language, any random connection. The poems came thick and fast."

Tonight (Monday, September 13) will be his first live performance of the collection of work in Salisbury, at the new Brown Street venue.

The poems will then be used at upcoming reflection and thank you events.

The project was made possible by funding from the Hospital League of Friends and The Stars Appeal.

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