A stay in The Hospital
The latest book from Folkestone-based poet and filmmaker Ben Barton is The Hospital. Launched at the Folkestone Book Festival last year, this collection of poems tells the story of his admittance into hospital, and the experiences he had there. Made up of 45 individual poems, it could be considered one long poem, detailing life on an NHS ward while drugged on morphine and floating on the road to recovery.
Throughout the daily humiliations and the public spectacle of the sick and the dying, there are sparks of hope: a nip of whisky from another patient’s hip flask, the cries of a newborn from down the corridor, and one last meal, jab, swab before leaving.
The Hospital has been widely praised by many on the poetry scene for its honest, unflinching look at life on today’s wards in Brexit Britain.
“This collection brims with curiously sensitive glances at those who society would rather have us forget or ignore, shifting seamlessly between the bleak and restorative.”  – Anthony Anaxagorou, poet and artistic director of Out-Spoken.
“Ben Barton sets the power of the poet, the power of words to create order and meaning out of a potentially humiliating experience. He offers a special insight into the nature of suffering and being human, and the hopes that sustain us.” – Richard Swan, author of Melody’s Unicorn (2018) and former Ashford Poet of the Year.
Turning an unflinching gaze on the experience of illness and a prolonged stay in hospital, The Hospital connects with the humanity, horror and grace under pressure of both patients and staff. In a beautiful collection that is not without humour, Ben Barton shows that his formidable poetry gifts were not allowed to lie idle in that hospital bed.” – Patric Cunnane, poet and organiser of Dodo Modern Poets.
About the Author
Ben Barton grew up on the Romney Marsh in Kent. His poems have been published in Chroma, The Coffee House, Iota, The Journal, Neon Highway, Pulsar, Snakeskin, South, Time Haiku and Zygote in My Coffee, among others. Nominated for the Canterbury Poet of the Year Award and the erbacce-prize, he works as a professional copy and travel writer. Also a film artist, Ben’s film Stella Erratica was funded by the late David Bowie, and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. He lives in Folkestone with his husband and son, beside the beautiful North Downs.
Ben will be attending the ‘Local Books’ event and signing copies of The Hospital.



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