Abstract

This article examines the poetic contribution of Valerie Gillies, Edinburgh Makar (or poet of the city) from 2005–2008, to the Edinburgh Marie Curie Hospice Quiet Room, a new contemplation space for patients, families, and staff. In collaboration with others, Gillies created a transitional space for the Quiet Room, centered on the display of her sonnet, “A Place Apart.” This space functions to comfort visitors to the Quiet Room by relocating them in their surroundings and offering the solace provided by nature and history. With this project, her first as Edinburgh Makar, Gillies redefines the role of the poet as healer and advocates for newer forms of palliative care that focus on patients’ spiritual and emotional, as well as physical, wellbeing.

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